Florida resident surveys 'total devastation' from Hurricane Michael

Florida resident surveys 'total devastation' from Hurricane Michael

Michael blew ashore near the small Florida Panhandle town of Mexico Beach on Wednesday afternoon as one of the most powerful storms in U.S. history, with winds of up 250km/h.

Some of the worst damage was in Mexico Beach, where the hurricane crashed ashore Wednesday as a Category 4 monster with 155 miles per hour (250 kph) winds and a storm surge of 9 feet (2.7 meters). "If Hurricane Michael moves that algae onto land, it gets spread out, it doesn't get sustained", Frank Muller-Karger, professor of biological oceanography at the University of Maryland, told Bloomberg.

In Gadsden County, Florida, the sheriff's office said Thursday they had four "storm-related fatalities following Hurricane Michael", although they had only confirmed the details of one death: a man killed when a tree crashed through the roof of his home.

Southern Co's Gulf Power unit said it could take weeks to restore power in the hardest hit parts of Florida like the Panama City area.

After slamming Florida and lashing Georgia, Michael is now barreling through the storm-weary Carolinas.

"It's just going to take years".

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. Downed power lines and twisted street signs lay all around.

More than 400,000 people in Florida, Georgia and Alabama were without power.

Vance Beu, 29, was staying with his mother at her home, Spring Gate Apartments, a complex of single-story wood frame buildings where they piled up mattresses around themselves for protection. They are cutting holes in roofs. The roar of the winds, he said, sounded like a jet engine.

"For North Carolina, Michael isn't as bad as Florence, but it adds unwelcome insult to injury, so we must be on alert", Gov. Roy Cooper said.

Michael was the most intense hurricane to strike the Florida Panhandle since record keeping began in 1851. "There's flooding. Boats on the highway". Homes were split open by fallen trees.

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17 dead, power outages affect 1.5 mil. after Hurricane Michael
Michael Williams, 70, looked for help from passing motorists for food and water as trees prevent him from returning home. Grocery stores and gas stations in the hardest hit areas remain closed.

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Back in Mexico Beach, residents were picking up the pieces.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said as he visited Mexico Beach on Friday and "It was like a bomb went off".

Six people are dead in the storm's path, and authorities fear the toll could climb higher as search-and-rescue efforts continue.

"Hurricane Michael is an unprecedented event and can not be compared to any of our previous events".

More than 375 000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were ordered or urged to clear out as Michael closed in.

The Houston-based volunteer search-and-rescue network CrowdSource Rescue said its teams were trying to find about 2,100 people either reported missing or stranded and in need of help in Florida, co-founder Matthew Marchetti said.

The number of dead was expected to rise, but authorities scrapped plans for setting up a temporary morgue, indicating they had yet to see signs of mass casualties from the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S.in almost 50 years. It was the strongest storm to hit the continental USA since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and left extensive damage in Panama City, where skies were still overcast hours after the gusty winds left town. "Do not risk your life, leave NOW if you were told to do so", The National Weather Service warned on October 3 as Hurricane Michael swelled to an "extremely dangerous" category 4 storm.

The tally of lives lost across the South stood at 14, including the victim found in the rubble of Mexico Beach, where about 1,000 people live.

Hours earlier, meteorologists watched satellite imagery in complete awe as the storm intensified. "But we'll be newer and improved".

The storm is likely to fire up the debate over global warming. But without extensive study, they can not directly link a single weather event to the changing climate. Pine trees were stripped and snapped off about 20 feet high. "She was 11 years old, but she liked to have fun like a 5-year-old".

Other parts of Georgia also were hit hard by the storm.

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