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hurricane michael florida


Image source NASA Earth Observatory

At least 17 deaths have been confirmed so far in a swath of Hurricane Michael’s destruction stretching up to Virginia.

Rescuers have still to search the worst-affected areas of Florida’s flattened Mexico Beach.

Michael, one of the most powerful hurricanes in US history, struck on October 10 with 155mph winds.

So far at least 8 people are confirmed dead in Florida, 5 in Virginia, 3 in North Carolina and one in Georgia.

Rescuers using heavy machinery and trained dogs found the body of a man, the latest reported fatality, while searching through rubble on October 12 in Mexico Beach.

However, Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said the number of deaths was expected to rise as teams combed through badly hit areas in Mexico Beach, Port St. Joe and Panama City.

Residents of Mexico Beach had been under a mandatory evacuation order, but it is believed at least 285 people among a population of 1,000 had stayed behind to ride out the storm.

Hurricane Michael Hits Florida Killing at Least Two People

Florida Senator Marco Rubio said: “You hope that somehow at the last minute a bunch of people got up and left or went somewhere else.”

Hundreds of people are still unaccounted for across the area, but this may simply reflect an inability to communicate with relatives, with mobile phone coverage out in many areas.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said as he visited Mexico Beach on October 12: “It’s like a bomb went off. It’s like a war zone.”

The governor said more than 1,700 rescue workers had been deployed.

Mexico Beach Mayor Al Cathey said: “When you walk down and see this… your emotions run away. This is just a small unique coastal community.”

Many homes on the affected Florida coastline suffered storm surges of 12-14ft.

The residents of Mexico Beach, those who stayed and those who evacuated and have now returned, were simply trying to come to terms with the destruction.

Thousands of people were still in emergency centers on October 12.

Distribution centers have begun to spring up, but many residents remain desperate for basic services. Long lines had formed in some areas for fuel, food and water.

There are fears of unrest in poorer areas of affected towns and cities. Military personnel could be seen guarding one store in Panama City.

A spokesman for the Tyndall Air Force Base told the 3,600 men and women stationed there not to come back following their mandatory evacuation, with runways and buildings devastated.

At least 33 of its 55 F-22 stealth fighters, which each cost $339 million, had been flown out ahead of the storm.

The air force said some planes remained for maintenance reasons, although it would not confirm the number or type. A spokesman said damage was likely but had still to be assessed.

Hundreds of thousands of people remain without power in Florida, Georgia and Virginia, and in some parts it could be weeks before it is fully restored.

An insurance company, Karen Clark & Company, estimated Hurricane Michael caused about $8 billion of damage.

Michael is now a storm-force post-tropical low and is well out into the Atlantic Ocean, heading towards the Bay of Biscay.

Image source NASA Earth Observatory

Hurricane Michael, the third-strongest storm in recorded history to hit the US mainland, has battered north-west Florida killing two people, including one child, and flooding beach towns and snapping trees.

It made landfall on October 10 as a Category 4 storm with 155mph winds in Florida’s Panhandle region.

According to officials, the victims were killed by falling trees.

Hurricane Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm as it weakened over Georgia on its way to the Carolinas.

The US National Hurricane Center says that storm-surge warnings are in place between Panama City Beach and Keaton Beach in Florida, and between Ocracoke Inlet and Duck in North Carolina.

Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were left without electricity in Florida, Alabama and Georgia.

There are fears for people who ignored evacuation warnings in some of the areas now flooded.

According to Florida officials, a man was killed when he was crushed by a tree in Gadsden County while a child died when a tree fell on a home in Seminole County, Georgia.

The storm earlier reportedly killed at least 13 people as it passed through Central America: six in Honduras, four in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador.

Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, at around 14:00 on October 10.

Only the unnamed Labor Day hurricane, which hit Florida in 1935, and Hurricane Camille, which struck Mississippi in 1969, made landfall with greater intensity.

The Labor Day storm’s barometric pressure (the lower the number, the stronger the storm) was 892 millibars and Camille’s was 900, while Michael blew in with 919.

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Hurricane Michael was so powerful as it swept into Florida that it remained a hurricane as it moved further inland.

Its rapid intensification caught many by surprise, although the storm later weakened.

Only on October 9 Michael was a Category 2 hurricane but by October 10 it had reached borderline category five, the highest level.

More than 370,000 people in Florida were ordered to evacuate but officials believe many ignored the warning.

The storm knocked out power to a quarter of a million homes and businesses, as power lines were smashed by falling trees.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long said at the White House that he was especially concerned about buildings constructed before 2001, and not able to withstand such high winds.

President Donald Trump responded: “We just hope those structures can hold up.”

“And if not, that they’re not in those structures.”

States of emergency have been declared in all or parts of Florida, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.

Schools and state offices in the area are to remain shut this week and Florida has activated 3,500 National Guard troops.