'Changed Forever': Florida Panhandle devastated by Michael

13 October, 2018, 04:00 | Author: Bertha Harmon
  • Hurricane Michael was forecast to become a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 120 mph when it makes landfall in the Flo

Michael charged ashore on Wednesday near the small Florida Panhandle town of Mexico Beach as one of the most powerful storms in USA history, with top sustained winds of 155 miles per hour (250km per hour). The streets closest to the water looked as if a bomb had gone off. "It's like a war zone".

Bay County officials have previously said 56 people chose to stay back in Mexico Beach and search and rescue teams were trying to account for them.

Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), warned that he expected the number of deaths to rise.

Miami Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban, leader of a search-and-rescue unit that went into the flattened town, said: "We have one confirmed deceased and are working to determine if there are others".

"Things, we can replace", Farabaugh said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront".

The storm, a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, tore apart entire neighbourhoods in the Panhandle and many houses in Mexico Beach were reduced to naked concrete foundations or piles of rubble. "Storm surge causes the most amount of loss of life".

A hurricane warning has been issued for the Florida Gulf Coast and many cities and communities have been issued evacuation orders.

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"But you know what ... it's just stuff, it's just stuff", she told her husband, Raoul, as they walked through the ruins. "So many families have lost everything", he lamented.

Bob Tenbrunson, a Mexico Beach retiree, rode out the storm at his daughter's house in nearby Panama City and returned to survey the damage to his home. "You will not be able to get home if you live in or near the coast", he said.

A pine tree punched a hole in their roof, and Beu's ears popped because of the drop in barometric pressure from the storm.

The death toll across the South stood at 13, not counting any victims in Mexico Beach.

"I can't describe it, It's just awful", Sherri said about the unrecognizable street.

- The human cost: A falling tree killed a man in Iredell County, North Carolina; an 11-year-old girl in Seminole County, Georgia, was killed when a carport blew through the roof of her home; four people were killed in Gadsden County, Florida, near Tallahassee; and Virginia had five storm related deaths, including two people who were swept away from their vehicles by floodwaters.

Tropical-storm force winds are those ranging from 39 to 73mph, under a category 1 hurricane, which typically exhibits winds of more than 74mph.

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President Donald Trump announced plans to visit Florida and hard-hit Georgia early next but didn't say what day he would arrive.

UPDATE: NOAA's #GOES16 shows the explosive energy of #HurricaneMichael, captured in this "sandwich loop" - a combination of visible and infrared imagery - this morning, October 10, 2018. Michael is also pouring flash flooding rains as it passes through North Carolina today and multiple warnings have emerged as a result.

Forecasters have said that Michael could make landfall in the Florida Panhandle as a Category 3 storm or possibly greater.

With the storm next entering the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico, which has warm water and favourable atmospheric conditions, "there is a real possibility that Michael will strengthen to a major hurricane before landfall", said Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the Miami-based storm forecasting hub.

FEMA's Long expressed hope that in the future "we don't rebuild to the same standards" and called for "real building codes across this country".

Tyndall Air Force Base, home to the F-22 stealth fighter, suffered extensive damage, according to aerial photos of the coastal facility.

Michael was also endangering dairy and poultry operations in its path. Power outages from storms can be life-threatening to animals in confined farm operations.

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