Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Hurricane Michael Ravaged Mexico Beach

Hurricane Michael Ravaged Mexico Beach

Gov. Rick Scott said the Panhandle awoke to "unimaginable destruction". He added: "So many lives have been changed forever. So many families have lost everything", he said.

"It's going to take some time to survey and clear all the roads", Scott said. An 80-mile (130-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 10, the main east-west route along the Panhandle, was closed.

Hurricane Michael has been upgraded to an "extremely dangerous" category 4 storm, hours before it is due to make landfall in Florida.

Five people have died in Florida: Fatalities include a child in Seminole County and a man in Gadsen County who died after a tree fell on a home near Greensboro.

Desolate concrete slabs where houses once stood.

Almost 300 people were known to have ignored a mandatory evacuation order to leave Mexico Beach before the storm. "That's probably ground zero".

Mishelle McPherson and her ex-husband searched for the elderly mother of a friend. The woman lived in a small cinderblock house about 150 yards (meters) from the Gulf and thought she would be OK. "The home was found smashed, with no sign of the woman". Do not think you can survive it.

Thousands of National Guard troops, law enforcement officers and medical teams began making their way across the stricken zone. We're working with our partners to provide evacuees a safe place to stay.

- Roughly a million customers in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and SC lost power.

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Diane Farris, 57, and her son walked to a high school-turned-shelter near their home in Panama City to find about 1,100 people crammed into a space meant for about half as many.

Downed power lines lay almost everywhere. Roofs had been peeled off. Aluminum siding was shredded to ribbons.

Hundreds of cars had broken windows. More than 380,000 homes and businesses were without power at the height of the storm. Others were missing roofs or walls.

Similar issues were arising at nursing homes, and crews were flying in supplies to Florida State Hospital at Chattahoochee, which serves patients with mental illness. All phone communicaiton was cut off to the complex of almost 1,000 residents and more than 300 staff, leaving emergency radios as their only link out. They relied on emergency radios to make contact with first responders. One of the carport's legs punctured the roof and hit the 11-year-old girl in the head. A driver in North Carolina was killed when a tree fell on his auto.

A day later, the beach town remained hard to reach by land, with roads covered by fallen trees, power lines and other debris.

Forecasters said it could drop up to 7 inches (18 centimetres) of rain over the Carolinas and Virginia before pushing out to sea Thursday night.

In North Carolina's mountains, motorists had to be rescued from cars trapped by high water.

As the Category 4 storm's center crossed nearby, Mulligan said, her concrete complex shook and vibrated against sustained winds of around 155 miles per hour.

MEXICO BEACH, FL - OCTOBER 09: Carol Cathey spray paints the words "Calm down Michael" on the plywood over her daughter's business in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Michael on October 9, 2018 in Mexico Beach, Florida. But it moved so fast and intensified so quickly that people didn't have much time to prepare, and emergency authorities lamented that many ignored the warnings. "You have rain, you have wind - but storm surge, that's a lot of water that can come onshore", said David Peaton, the assistant director of emergency management in Levy County, in an interview with local station WUFT.

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