‘Total devastation’: Residents return to destroyed homes in Florida Panhandle

15 October, 2018, 01:39 | Author: Bertha Harmon
  • Weakening Hurricane Michael Swirls Over North Carolina in Satellite Images

Meanwhile in Georgia, officials are receiving reports that 84 chicken houses - estimated to hold more than 2 million chickens - were destroyed in the storm which also caused severe damage to pecan, cotton, vegetable and peanut crops.

"I expect the fatality count to rise as we get through the debris", Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long said on Friday.

More than 1,700 search-and-rescue workers - many veterans of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria a year ago and some of ground zero after 9/11 - are providing assistance in areas affected by the hurricane.

Mayor Al Cathey said that 289 people, including 10 children, chose to stay put, despite evacuation orders, and ride out the category 4 storm which made landfall on Wednesday and destroyed numerous homes and businesses in Mexico Beach, which boasts a population of almost 1,200.

His town was one of the coastal Florida communities clobbered by the hurricane that made landfall on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm, blowing winds faster than 140 miles per hour and sweeping deadly storm surges.

Three days after Hurricane Michael unleashed its wrath in the Florida Panhandle, residents in some of the hardest hit areas are growing desperate for food and water.

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"It looks like my entire street is razed", said Herrle, who was not in Mexico Beach during the storm.

Members of a South Florida urban search and rescue team try to gain entry to a home while looking for survivors of hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla.

Then, as Michael blew through Virginia as a tropical storm, authorities said five people there were killed, including four who drowned and a firefighter whose truck was struck by a tractor-trailer as he responded to an accident in heavy storm conditions.

Electricity and phone service were being slowly restored, but it could be weeks before power is restored to the most damaged areas.

Cleanup operations were cranking up throughout the Panhandle. It is behind only Hurricane Camille that hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969 and the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 that made landfall in the Florida Keys.

Studebaker was also deployed to Hurricane Florence damaged areas, but said damage from Hurricane Michael is much worse. "All these electrical poles and water lines are busted".

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"I lost everything", Morales said.

"It's going to be rough for a while in Panama City", he said. So he stashed them in a closet before heading to his daughter's new two-story home.

Although weaker as it pushed over the southeastern United States, the storm carried high winds and delivered drenching rains to Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.

As of early on Saturday, state officials were reporting that at least 18 people have been killed in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

Marchetti said his volunteer search teams, consisting mostly of off-duty police officers and firefighters, had rescued or accounted for 345 others previously reported to CrowdSource Rescue.

FEMA works ahead of time with the National Guard, state governments, utility companies, the private sector and nonprofit relief organizations to set up transportation and distribution networks - but those involved in the relief and recovery efforts say this storm came in quick and packed a wallop that is complicating the response.

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"We brought all four of them and their cat to my condo", she said.

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