Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Federal Officials Expect Michael Death Toll to Rise in Next 24 Hours

A look at the forecasts and impacts of Hurricane Michael Michael What you need to know in graphics Hurricane Michael What you need
Theresa Hayes | 13 October, 2018, 08:29

The impact of Tropical Storm Michael continues in North Carolina, with one death in Iredell County, 490,000 people without power Friday morning, ongoing flooding and more than a dozen school districts closed.

Hurricane Michael struck Florida's north-west coast near the small town of Mexico Beach on Wednesday afternoon with top sustained winds of 155mph (250kph), pushing a wall of seawater inland and causing widespread flooding.

Hit head-on by the storm, numerous homes in this Gulf Coast resort town of about 1,190 people were shattered or ripped from their foundations.

"This is a war zone".

About 32km south of Mexico Beach, floodwaters were more than 2.1 metres deep near Apalachicola, a town of about 2,300 residents, hurricane centre chief Ken Graham said.

Southern Co's Gulf Power unit said it could take weeks to restore power in the hardest hit parts of Florida like the Panama City area.

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

And unless the rate of greenhouse gas emissions changes, hurricanes are expected to intensify more rapidly in the coming decades, the scientific research group Climate Central said. Numerous 600 families who live there had followed orders to pack what they could in a single suitcase as they were evacuated ahead of the storm.

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.

"When you go back to rebuild these areas that you do so in a resilient fashion", he said.

Jordon Tood, 31, a charter boat captain in Port St. Joe, said: "There were mandatory evacuation orders, but only idiots like us stuck around". "Everything's gone. I didn't even know our road was our road", said 25-year-old Tiffany Marie Plushnik, an evacuee who returned to find her home in Sandy Creek too damaged to live in. "I have been trying to patch it up the best I can".

"We had houses that were on one side of the street and now they're on the other", said Mayor Bo Patterson, who watched trees fly by his window as he rode out the storm in his home seven blocks from the beach. He said "aggressive" search and rescue efforts would get underway. "People will just pack up and leave". Though most homes were still standing, no property was left undamaged.

Others came with nothing - as there was nothing left to save.

Search and rescue teams combed through shattered U.S. communities on Thursday looking for victims of Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 monster storm which carved out a swathe of destruction in the Florida Panhandle, killing at least six in three states.

But the death toll reached 11 when the Virginia Department of Emergency Management said Friday morning that five people were killed in the state, including four who drowned and a firefighter who was responding to a call for help.

As of Thursday evening, more than 370,000 customers were without power in Florida and 202,000 customers in Virginia were in the dark. Just three major hurricanes have hit the panhandle since 1950.

And Michael also was deadly, both in Florida and beyond. "We are working very hard on every area and every state that was hit - and we are with you!"

The state Capitol was spared the brunt of Hurricane Michael, but tropical storm-force winds still managed to knock out 97 percent of the city's power grid, causing more than 100,000 residents in Tallahassee to lose power. Hurricane Patricia, which struck Mexico's Pacific coast on October 23, 2015, strengthened from tropical storm to Category 5 hurricane in 24 hours.

"We are not completely done". The storm caused major damage to Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, where winds clocked up to 130 miles per hour flipped an F-15 fighter jet and shreaded hangars.

The base was evacuated ahead of the hurricane and the costly fighter planes were flown to other installations out of the path of the storm.