Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Hurricane Michael aftermath: "Devastated" Florida families return to find homes destroyed

Via NOAA Via NOAA
Sandy Nunez | 12 October, 2018, 01:54

Michael, which Gov. Scott called "monstrous", made landfall with wind speeds that were almost the greatest possible for a Category 4 - 155 miles per hour. Those winds were tearing some buildings apart in Panama City Beach.

The entire Florida Panhandle is under a hurricane warning Tuesday as Hurricane Michael moves north across the Gulf of Mexico, according to the National Hurricane Center. "Hurricane conditions will also spread well inland across portions of the Florida Panhandle, southeastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia", the NHC advised.

"It was so scary you'd poo yourself", said retiree Tom Garcia, 60, who was trapped inside his Mexico Beach home as water poured in to waist height. "When the water came in, houses started floating in front of our home".

He and his partner Cheri Papineau, 50, pushed on their door for an hour to stop the storm surge bursting in as their four dogs sat on top of a bed floating in their home. On her way home, she said she was filled with "dread".

Tropical Storm Michael has sped off toward the Atlantic Ocean, but there will be nothing quick about Florida's recovery from the hurricane, where rows upon rows of homes have been smashed to pieces.

"This happened so quickly, we weren't exactly prepared", he said.

Smith could not provide details on the victim.

The area is known for its small beach towns, wildlife reserves and the state capital, Tallahassee.

The storm is now a Category 4, which The Weather Channel warns will cause a "catastrophic storm surge".

The two people killed in the storm were a man who died when a tree toppled onto his house in Florida and a girl who died when debris fell into a home in Georgia, officials and local media said. "We haven t seen as robust of an evacuation response from the civilian population that we have seen in other storms".

Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center advises, "There is a real possibility that Michael will strengthen to a major hurricane before landfall".

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For North Carolina, "Michael isn't as bad as Florence but adds insult to injury", Gov. Cooper said at a news conference Thursday.

A fast and furious Hurricane Michael is speeding toward the Florida Panhandle with 120 miles per hour winds and a potential storm surge of 13 feet, giving tens of thousands of people precious little time to get out or board up.

Escambia County, Santa Rosa County, Pasco County, Madison County, Liberty County Leon County, Hernando County, Gadsden County, and Calhoun County are under voluntary/phased evacuation orders.

"Hurricane Michael is an unprecedented event and can not be compared to any of our previous events".

Megan McCall says her brother Jeff and his family were riding out the storm in the Panhandle.

President Donald Trump has issued a major disaster declaration for Florida, allowing for more help from the federal government to flow into the communities.

State officials issued disaster declarations in Alabama and Georgia and the storm is also expected to bring heavy rainfall to North and SC. Following Hurricane Irma a year ago, 14 people died when a South Florida nursing home lost power and air conditioning.

It made landfall on the coast as a Category 1 hurricane on September 14 and drenched some parts of the state with 40 inches (101 centimeters) of rain.

The strongest storm to hit the continental U.S. since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Michael dashed homes into pieces, swallowed marinas and left piles of rubble where shopping centers once stood.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for.