Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Unscathed by Hurricane Michael, Lake City friends test their luck

Gerald Herbert  APA woman checks on her vehicle as Hurricane Michael passes through in Panama City Beach Fla. Oct. 10 2018 Gerald Herbert APA woman checks on her vehicle as Hurricane Michael passes through in Panama City Beach Fla. Oct. 10 2018
Sandy Nunez | 12 October, 2018, 06:43

There have been an unknown number of water rescues Thursday morning in the mountain counties of Henderson and McDowell, according to Division of Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry.

Violent winds thrashed communities like Panama City and Marianna Florida, while surges of ocean water - pushed into the shore by winds - submerged coastal homes in Mexico Beach, Florida. But "we have to make sure things are safe". The video shows collapsed roofing and walls, scattered debris and mangled building materials.

In Panama City, most homes were still standing, but no property was left undamaged.

Michael killed at least six people - including 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.

Two deaths have so far been attributed to the storm, with one person said to have died as the result of a falling tree in Gadson County, Florida, and a child reported to have been killed when a tree crashed through a mobile home. Roofs were peeled away and sent airborne. Aluminum siding was shredded to ribbons. Homes were split open by fallen trees.

The state mental hospital in Chattahoochee, which has a section for the criminally insane, was cut off by land, and food and supplies were being flown in, authorities said.

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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. Hundreds of cars had broken windows, many turned askew by the wind.

A pine tree broke a hole in their roof and his ears popped when the barometric pressure plummeted.

As Michael moves on to the Carolinas, there are serious concerns about deadly tornados and more flooding following Hurricane Florence.

Michael also disrupted energy operations in the US Gulf of Mexico as it approached land, cutting crude oil production by more than 40 percent and natural gas output by almost one-third as offshore platforms were evacuated.

Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the US mainland, behind the unnamed Labor Day storm of 1935 and Camille in 1969. As reported by The Weather Channel, the hurricane-turned-tropical-storm continues to travel up the East Coast with wind speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.