The president initially saw uprooted trees and houses with blue tarps covering damaged roofs after taking off from Eglin Air Force Base by helicopter.
Five days after Hurricane Michael roared into the Florida Panhandle, decimating the seaside community of Mexico Beach, rescuers appear to have some good news - just three people remain missing in the city that was torn apart by the Category 4 storm.
President Trump is set to visit Florida and areas affected by Hurricane Michael on Monday. That pushes the total deaths linked to the storm to at least 30 across four states, with other deaths in Florida under investigation and officials still exploring some of the most ravaged areas. Indirect deaths, which are typically more frequent, often happen during preparations and cleanup, including when someone slips and falls off a roof or dies of poisoning from carbon monoxide produced by a generator.
Trump landed at an airport near Panama City, where power poles bowed toward the ground, pieces of metal roofing were scattered in brush land and pine trees had been uprooted or were snapped off halfway up their straight trunks.
Last week, thousands of telecommunications workers began streaming into Florida to fix downed networks.
The residents' message was spotted by chance when a relative who had already safely evacuated searched for the family's property via satellite images on a scientific mapping website.
"I was anxious", Ms Hand told CNN, explaining they didn't know if the pair and an elderly neighbour were able to be evacuated. More than 190,000 homes and businesses in Florida remain without electricity, along with about 120,000 homes and businesses in Georgia. "I had been seeing this link for the images all over Facebook, and I chose to check it out, and we lucked out", Gee told ABC. They were greeted by Republican Governor Rick Scott, FEMA Administrator William "Brock" Long, Congressman Matt Gaetz, (R), and other officials.
"Rick Scott, your governor, has done an incredible job, and all of your people have been unbelievable - working with FEMA, working with the first responders, and, always, law enforcement", Trump told reporters upon arriving at Eglin Air Force Base on Monday morning.
Scott said he's gotten everything he's asked for from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and has spoken with Trump "almost every day".
"I'm staying out here to try to keep away looters, to try to save what I can save", said Bernard Sutton, a 64-year-old cancer patient, who has been living out of a tent and broken-down minivan. Florida Gov. Rick Scott is at right.
The president tweeted before leaving the White House that he will meet with law enforcement and government officials aiding the massive recovery effort.
"We listened to voicemails we received overnight", he said, "and you can just hear in their voice their desperation, wanting to know if their family member is alive and well or if their family member has passed".
Several churches were heavily damaged by the hurricane.
After Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida Panhandle on its way north, officials in the state were left with the macabre task of figuring out the storm's death toll - a question that could take some time to answer.