The roof had blown clean off. Outside, the ocean surged, swallowing the land. Brent Lowe knew he had to escape — and take his 24-year-old son, who has cerebral palsy and can't walk, with him.

But Lowe had another problem. He's blind.

So he put his grown son on his shoulders, then stepped off his porch, he said. The swirling current outside came up to his chin.

"It was scary, so scary," said Brent Lowe, 49.

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Clutching neighbours, he said he felt his way to the closest home still standing. It was five minutes — an eternity — away.

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