Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Before-and-after photos show Hurricane Michael's catastrophic destruction in Florida

'Monster' Hurricane Michael strengthens on its way to Florida Gov. Deal declares State of Emergency for 92 counties ahead of Michael
| 13 October, 2018, 06:33

It made landfall on Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour (249 kph).

"I know people are worn out from Florence, but don't let this storm catch you with your guard down", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said, adding, "A number of homes have rooftop tarps that could be damaged or blown away with this wind".

The latest two deaths in North Carolina occurred in McDowell County when a vehicle struck a tree that had fallen across a road, officials said.

President Donald Trump said he planned to visit Florida and Georgia. "It's just how do we get together, how do we recover?"

About 5,000 U.S. servicemen were deployed to help with relief and recovery efforts, the Pentagon said, using 100 helicopters and 1,800 high-water vehicles.

"Hurricane Michael is the worst storm that the Florida Panhandle has ever seen", said governor Rick Scott of Florida, where 375,000 people were ordered evacuated from the western part of the state.

Michael weakened as it charged over the southeastern United States, but still carried high winds and delivered drenching rains to Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia, causing flooding.

FEMA's Long urged communities such as Mexico Beach, where many homes were obliterated by 12 to 14 feet (3.7 to 4.3 meters) of storm surge, to rebuild to withstand future storms."It's OK if you want to live on the coast or on top of a mountain that sees wildfires or whatever, but you have to build to a higher standard", he said.

Home after home was razed from its foundations in the town of around 1,000 people, leaving just bare concrete slabs. The rest were missing roofs or siding.

"I hope we don't see it climb dramatically but I have reasons to believe we still haven't got into some of the hardest hit areas", he said.

One resident who stayed, who gave his name as Scott, told CNN he saw "cars floating by" his house.

"If you decide to stay in your home and a tree falls on your house or the storm surge catches you and you're now calling for help, there's no one that can respond to help you", Mr Morgan said at a news conference. "There's nothing left here anymore". "Our lives are gone here".


Others said they remained because road closures and police checkpoints make it very hard to get back home.

"This was never in our imagination", he said.

Numerous injured in Florida were taken to hard-hit Panama City, 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Mexico Beach.

The winds were strong enough to pierce the windshield of a auto in Panama City Beach.

Margaret Decambre, a 48-year-old gemologist, rode out the storm in her Panama City fourth-floor condo with her husband and three cats.

"You can't drive a auto anywhere, you can't do anything because it's littered with houses, pieces of houses", said Patricia Mulligan, who rode out the storm with her family in a condo in Mexico Beach, a town of mom-and-pop shops and sport-fishing businesses about 56km southeast of Panama City.

Decambre said she had opened her home to a friend who takes care of three elderly women.

Her brother, she said, lost a condo along the beach, and the other nearby units were also destroyed. "Yes, it is all about helping others".

By 5 a.m., Michael's eye was about 45 miles (72 kilometres) west of Augusta, Georgia, packing top winds of 50 mph (80 kph) and moving at 21 mph (33 kph) into SC, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

In North Carolina, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the school system in Union County remained closed Friday after the storm knocked out power in those communities, according to the Charlotte Observer. By early Friday morning it had moved into the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Norfolk, Virginia, the National Hurricane Center said.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) chief Brock Long said Michael was the most intense hurricane to strike the Florida Panhandle since record keeping began in 1851. Michael broke other records: Strongest hurricane to make landfall this late in the season, the third-strongest US hurricane on record by pressure, and the strongest hurricane to strike Georgia directly in a dozen decades.

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