Published: Sat, October 13, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Florida town almost wiped off the map by Hurricane Michael

Florida town almost wiped off the map by Hurricane Michael

The Coast Guard said it rescued at least 27 people before and after the hurricane's landfall, mostly from coastal homes. The core of Michael will move across eastern Georgia into Central South Carolina on Thursday morning.

Authorities said at least two people have died, a man killed by a tree falling on a Panhandle home and according to WMAZ-TV, an 11-year-old girl was also killed by a tree falling on a home in southwest Georgia. About 375,000 people were under mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders, although not all complied.

The El Governor is one of the few structures left standing on the beach side of Highway 98 in Mexico Beach after Hurricane Michael tore through the city earlier in the week.

As of noon ET Friday, the storm had left almost 439,000 accounts without power outages in North Carolina, the state's Emergency Management Agency said.

A state emergency-management official said all hospitals in the impacted region have reported some form of "critical failure" - water and sewage problems or infrastructure issues such as crumbling walls - that required patients to be relocated and medical field hospitals to be set up.

Officials said more than 400,000 homes and businesses were without electricity and 20,000 utility workers had been deployed to restore power.

Buildings in Panama City were crushed, tall pine trees were sent flying and a steeple was knocked off a church.

Mexico Beach and Panama City were among the most devastated areas.

It could be weeks before power is restored to the most damaged parts of Florida.

"We have shelters open (and) as long as there's a need they're going to stay open", he said.

He says officials don't yet have a count of the dead and are working to ID them.

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In Mexico Beach, a seafront town where the hurricane made landfall, houses had been razed by storm surge, boats had been tossed into yards and the streets were littered with trees and power lines.

Catastrophic scenes have emerged across the Florida Panhandle, but none perhaps worse than in Mexico Beach, described as ground zero of the devastation. As Greg reports, "The storm blew off much of the roof, but the nightmare, as he calls it, didn't end there".

Long urged communities such as Mexico Beach, where many homes were obliterated by 12 to 14 feet (3.7 to 4.3 meters) of storm surge, to rebuild to withstand future storms. "It´s like a war zone".

"It wasn't going to get this high, realistically". Hanson asked. "This city is destroyed".

Drone footage of Mexico Beach showed a stunning landscape of devastation. "So many families have lost everything", he said. "It's just hard. It's just hard", said Jessica Foster, a WJHG anchor. It was a powerful explosion of nature, one of the most powerful hurricanes on record. It quickly bloomed from a "disturbance" with winds of 30 miles per hour on Saturday afternoon into a fearsome storm with gusts over 170 miles per hour.

Boats are pictured ashore following Hurricane Michael in Port St. Joe, Fla. "We know there will be greater loss of life", FEMA Deputy Administrator Dr. Daniel Kaniewski said. "For me the cotton crop is as bad as it gets".

Michael Williams, 70, looks for help from passing motorists for food and water as downed trees prevent him from driving out of his damaged home in the aftermath of hurricane Michael with his family in Springfield, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

Of the five deaths in Virginia, four were from drowning, according to member station WVTF.

In addition, a firefighter was killed when a tractor-trailer rear-ended a fire engine that was at the scene of a vehicle accident on Interstate 295 in the Richmond area, according to the Virginia State Police.

In Virginia, the National Weather Service said on Friday, "significant river flooding is occurring or forecast on the Appomattox River and possibly even on the lower James River".

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