In the sunshine state, we met the sofa survivor.

In the worst hit part of southwest Florida, David Dean told us how he saw out Hurricane Ian.

“I found myself around three or four in the afternoon, floating on a sofa with my head just above the ceiling fans, 18 inches below the ceiling. I was gasping for air.”

As the water rose inside David’s 1970s single-storey park home, he planned for the worst – and an exit route.

“From that point, it was going to be to try to get out the door and hold on to a palm tree or something. The water was very cold and I was shivering. It was pretty horrific,” he said.

“For about two-and-a-half hours I was bobbing in that water. I couldn’t touch the bottom and was just waiting for the storm to pass.”

Today, days after the storm subsided, the neighbourhood is eerily quiet.

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This was home for hundreds of retirees, a beautiful corner of Florida chosen by many to live out their final years.

Now it’s a shattered paradise. Many residents will never live here again.

We saw the fire department carry out door-to-door searches through the shredded metal and clinging mud.

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‘My house is gone’

No fatalities have been confirmed here, but dozens have been confirmed dead across Lee County. That number is likely to go up over time.

David says the presence of the authorities here is “humbling”. A reminder that this could have been even worse.

“I’m hoping they didn’t find anybody, but by and large, you’d rather not know.”