Hurricane Michael Tears Florida Towns Apart, 7 Dead
13 October, 2018, 08:29 | Author: Kelly Sanders
The scenes were familiar across communities in Florida and Georgia: uprooted trees cracked like toothpicks, buildings with roofs peeled off, homes flattened into an unrecognizable landscape.
One of the first things you notice as you walk into Mexico Beach is the stillness. "Do you think it would have floated away?" she asked. "You're not going to recognize Mexico Beach". Helicopters were needed to deliver supplies to the most remote areas like St. George Island, Apalachicola and Port St. Joe, state officials said.
Some residents of a Gulf Coast beach community devastated by Hurricane Michael are telling harrowing tales of how they faced the storm and barely escaped.
The Houston-based volunteer search-and-rescue network CrowdSource Rescue said its teams were trying to find some 2,500 people who were either reported missing or were stranded and in need of help in Florida, co-founder Matthew Marchetti said.
More than 375 000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were ordered or urged to clear out as Michael closed in.
And unless we change the rate of greenhouse gas emissions, we should expect hurricanes to intensify more rapidly in the coming decades, the scientific research group Climate Central said.
FEMA crews have been using bulldozers and other heavy equipment to push a path through debris to allow rescuers to probe the rubble with specially trained search dogs.
"During a time that the State of Florida is bracing for Category 4 Hurricane Michael, the station has an obligation to protect the public and a false negative adverisement being aired about the current Governor during a State of Emergency diminishes the ability of the state's government to communicate emergency safety information to Florida residents and hurts the state as a whole", the letter from Steve Roberts, counsel to Rick Scott for Florida, states.
President Trump described the hurricane as "unbelievably destructive and powerful", contrasting it with last year's Hurricane Harvey, which caused in 106 USA deaths and massive flooding as it drifted for a week between Texas and Louisiana.
Now their home is full of mud and everywhere they look there's utter devastation in their Florida Panhandle community: fishing boats tossed like toys, roofs lifted off of buildings and pine trees snapped like matchsticks in 155 miles per hour winds.
Except for the emergency-911 system, authorities in Bay County, the epicentre of the disaster, were virtually without telephone or internet service until late in the day on Friday, making communications internally and with the public hard.
"We had houses that were on one side of the street and now they're on the other", said Mayor Bo Patterson, who watched trees fly by his window as he rode out the storm in his home seven blocks from the beach. "We're doing what we can with the minimal media that we have".
Click through the slideshow above to see how Hurricane Michael affected the worst-hit Florida neighborhoods.
Authorities said the full extent of devastation would not be known until after daybreak in Florida on Thursday. Search teams were going door-to-door looking for victims.
As of 11 p.m. EDT, Michael was centered about 15 miles northeast of Norfolk, Virginia, and about to head out into the Atlantic, with winds of 50 mph.
Six Florida counties remain under curfews, as work crews try to push debris off of roads so utility and emergency crews can start to fix the damage and reach people who need help after one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the U.S.
Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross was quoted by Reuters saying, "The number of people in emergency shelters was expected to swell to 20,000 across five states by Friday".
U.S. Route 98 runs right along the coast, where a few beachside restaurants offer oysters and other seafood, cocktails and a view of the Gulf of Mexico.
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