Now a Tropical Storm, Michael Leaves Devastation in Florida

12 Octobre, 2018, 05:37 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Joe Raedle  Getty Images Waves crash along a pier from hurricane Michael Oct. 10 2018 in Panama City Beach Fla

Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson said: "There are so many downed power lines and trees that it's nearly impossible to get through the city".

The National Hurricane Center said early Thursday that the eye of Michael was about 90 miles northeast of Macon, Georgia, and about 45 miles west of Augusta.

Among those brought to safety were nine people rescued by helicopter from a bathroom of their Panama City home after their roof collapsed, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald Hodges said.

The ultimate effect of Michael will take weeks to assess, but initial reports likened the ravages to that of Hurricane Andrew, which hit south Florida in 1992 causing $25billion in damages and took nearly two years to rebuild from.

For the big tourist destinations of Panama City Beach, Destin and Fort Walton, it could be months before they are back on an even keel as the hurricane destroyed homes, businesses and resorts, uprooted thousands of trees, and tore down power lines across the region.

The area is known for its small coastal towns and wildlife reserves.

Almost 850,000 homes and businesses were without power in Florida, Alabama, the Carolinas and Georgia on Thursday.

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The hurricane, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to strike the USA mainland, left at least two people dead.

Mr Long said several hospitals in the Panhandle were hit by the hurricane and patients had to be evacuated. "It destroyed everything", Jason Gunderson, a member of a group of rescue workers that calls itself the Cajun Navy, told CNN early on Thursday from Callaway, a suburb of Panama City.

More than 70 percent of cell towers were down in the hardest-hit counties where the storm made landfall, and more than 185,000 cable customers in Florida were without service.

Much of downtown Port St. Joe, 12 miles (19 km) east of Mexico Beach, was flooded after Michael snapped boats in two and hurled a large ship onto the shore, residents said. Wind damage was also evident.

Hurricane Michael's battering waves swamped streets and docks and shrieking winds splintered trees and rooftops.

With a low barometric pressure recorded at 919 millibars, the measure of a hurricane's force, it ranked as the third strongest storm on record to make landfall in the continental United States. "I know that there's a lot of bad stuff that happened out there on the Panhandle, but I think that we were very fortunate here", Lake City resident Tyler Flanagan said. US President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for all of Florida, freeing federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses.

The storm is now the most powerful hurricane on record to strike the Florida Panhandle.

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