At least 17 people were killed across the Caribbean by Hurricane Wilma, which was measured at one point as the strongest storm on record.
The hurricane battered Florida, Cuba and southern Mexico, with residents of the affected areas still assessing what it will take to repair the extensive damage left behind.
As Wilma gathered strength in the Caribbean, Haiti was among the first places to suffer, with 11 people killed by floods and landslides associated with the storm.
In Jamaica there were also heavy rains, with flooding in several low-lying communities.
But it was as Wilma approached Mexico that it quickly gathered strength - becoming a Category Five storm.
Although it had weakened slightly, becoming a Category Four storm by the time it made landfall, Wilma's progress remained a great cause for concern.
Mexico bore the brunt of the hurricane, which moved slowly across the Yucatan Peninsula.
It then gathered speed, hitting Cuba and then Florida before heading out to sea.
There was severe damage on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula - the centre of the country's tourist industry.
Waves surged into hotels in the resort of Cancun, sometimes reaching up to the third floor.
Electricity supplies were cut and homes flattened in Cancun city. Police fired shots in at attempt to stop looting.
The nearby resort of Playa del Carmen suffered severe damage and on Cozumel island streets were flooded and hotel windows shattered.
Many tourists had flown home following reports that the storm was heading their way and others travelled further inland.
For those that remained there were uncomfortable nights spent in hot and often crowded emergency shelters.
The British Foreign Office said up to 9,000 British tourists remained in the area.
More than 600,000 people were evacuated from at-risk areas of Cuba as Wilma approached.
In low-lying areas of western Cuba people fled inland and many schools were closed.
But when the hurricane hit, its ferocity still took many people by surprise.
Havana flooded when its sea defences were breached and hundreds of people had to be rescued as water swept inland.
Cuban television reported that sea water had penetrated up to a kilometre (half a mile) inland in some southern areas and that tornadoes destroyed homes in the west.
At least six people died as Hurricane Wilma hit Florida, causing extensive damage and leaving three million homes and businesses without power.
Wilma came ashore as a Category Three storm, bringing torrential rain and winds of 125mph (200km/h).
The state was declared a major disaster area, with President George W Bush signing an order to release emergency funds.
Before Wilma struck, the evacuation of the low-lying Florida Keys had been ordered as a precaution, but many decided to remain.
BBC correspondent Daniela Relph reported that the Keys were a cause of concern to emergency workers, with search teams struggling through the flood waters.