Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

Hurricane Michael kills 11 across four U.S. states

Michael kills six and wipes out Florida beach town Hurricane Michael leaves 'unimaginable destruction'
Jeannette Daniel | 13 October, 2018, 10:48

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.

But even as affected communities evaluate the damage left in the storm's wake, weather satellites continued to monitor Michael's progress.

In Mexico Beach, FL, alone, 16 people have been pulled from the rubble, CNN reported.

A similar storm hitting Jacksonville Beach could result in comparable damage, but surge would be slightly less due to deeper coastal profile and a higher dune profile than that of Mexico Beach.

Joseph Zahralban is Miami's fire chief.

"So many lives have been changed forever", he said.

At least seven people were killed by the storm in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina from falling trees and other hurricane-related incidents, according to state officials.

"I expect the fatality count to rise today and tomorrow as we get through the debris", Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long said Friday morning.

Mexico Beach, the ground-zero town, was almost obliterated by the hurricane, an official said Friday as the scale of the storm's fury became ever clearer.

Tenbrunson admitted he was not meant to be in town - emergency personnel have asked residents to stay away to allow the sniffer dogs to hunt through the debris for victims.

And at daylight, search and rescue teams went door to door looking for people who may still be trapped inside their homes.

Michael was one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever make landfall in the USA, and this Gulf Coast community of about 1,000 people was in its bullseye. It pushed a wall of seawater inland, causing widespread flooding.

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The storm, which came ashore as a category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, tore entire neighborhoods apart, reducing homes and businesses to piles of wood and siding, damaging roads and leaving scenes of devastation that resembled the aftermath of a carpet-bombing operation.

Except for the emergency-911 system, authorities in Bay County, the epicenter of the disaster, were virtually without telephone or internet service until late in the day on Friday, making communications internally and with the public hard.

Michael was the fourth hurricane to make landfall in the U.S.as a Category 4 storm in the past 14 months. U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 1st Class Colin Hunt/Handout via REUTERS.

"We are swamped", he said. "We're doing what we can with the minimal media that we have".

Scientists say it was so strong because warm waters of 84F (29C) extended unusually far up the northern Gulf Coast for this time of year after Florida had its warmest September ever.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson went to Panama City, up the coast from Mexico Beach, and was stunned by what he saw.

"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.

On the left, as we walk, there's a mattress slumped at the roadside, on the right a Dean Noontz novel lies in the dirt.

"Virginia storm updates as of 7 am [11:00 GMT Friday]".

The area is home to a number of rural communities that are among the poorest in the state.

"This is really a beach town - no high-rise buildings".

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