Eerie aerial pictures show the total destruction of Fort Myers from Hurricane Ian after the 'superstorm' ripped its beloved pier from its hinges.

Before and after shots captured the devastation to the small Florida city, with homes leveled, ships swept on to land and fires breaking out through ghost town neighborhoods.

The sea finally appeared to have ebbed back from the shoreline to reveal the devastation to the once tropical paradise, with trees yanked from their roots and roofs shed from restaurants along the promenade.

Meanwhile helicopter images showed buildings across the city splattered with holes where debris was flung by the storm.

It comes as Ron DeSantis said the tsunami-like flooding was a 'once in a 500-year' event and revealed it has left 2.7million without power across his state.

He has scrambled 50 National Guard helicopters to search for survivors and rescue the thousands still stranded, missing or stuck in their homes following extensive damage from the torrent of water and 155mph winds.

Eight people are confirmed to have been killed as a result of the storm in Charlotte County, County Commissioner Chris Constance told CNN.

Many emerged from their bunkers on Thursday morning to witness the devastation to their communities, with some bursting into tears at the sight of their belongings destroyed.

Lee County's Sheriff raised fears it was one of the worst natural disasters since Katrina with hundreds dead, but he later tempered his comments after DeSantis and FEMA insisted the death toll is not known.