Science

Florida resident surveys 'total devastation' from Hurricane Michael

Florida resident surveys 'total devastation' from Hurricane Michael”

Michael Williams, 70, looked for help from passing motorists for food and water as trees prevent him from returning home.

"I was going to stay here until it turned to a Cat 4", he said.

Rescue teams, hampered by power and telephone outages, used cadaver dogs, drones and heavy equipment to hunt for hundreds of people unaccounted for in devastated communities across the Florida Panhandle.

Flooding also caused interstate traffic disruptions Thursday afternoon when three ramps had to be closed at the interchange of interstates 85 and 385, near Greenville, reported Fox Carolina.

Efforts to rebuild will begin after homes and roads were smashed and trees downed.

The storm hit the Florida Panhandle and southwest Georgia hard, taking the lives of at least two people.

He spoke Friday as his team was winding down its two-day search of Mexico Beach, the town of about 1,000 people that was almost obliterated by Micahel's storm surge and devastating 155 miles per hour (249 kph) winds when the Category 4 hurricane made landfall Wednesday.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator William "Brock" Long said that authorities as of Friday morning had confirmed 11 deaths in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. "Hopefully it doesn't rise dramatically but it does remain a possibility".

FEMA used dogs, drones, and Global Positioning System in the search. "Mexico Beach, there's no barrier island out there to protect it, so it got the full force of the Category 4 wind and that wall of water". "Their specialties range from damage assessment to medical missions to search & rescue", FEMA tweeted on Thursday. The Coast Guard reported rescuing 129 people.

"Never ends, but we're all prepared and hopefully it won't be as bad as it's looking".

Long said the storm posed a direct threat to people who ignored warnings and evacuation orders on the coastlines, particularly given the threat of storm surge capable of tearing apart and flattening buildings.

Bob Tenbrunson, a Mexico Beach retiree, rode out the storm at his daughter's house in nearby Panama City and returned to survey the damage to his home.

Scott promised an "aggressive" cleanup operation, but acknowledged its huge scale. "So many families have lost everything". He called it "unimaginable destruction".

Michael severely damaged cotton, timber, pecan and peanut crops, causing estimated liabilities as high as $1.9 billion and affecting up to 3.7 million crop acres (1.5 million hectares), said Brad Rippey, a meteorologist for the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Numerous houses in Mexico Beach were reduced to naked concrete foundations or piles of rubble. "We have to wait for our assessment to be completed before we can say how many are missing", said Uganda Red Cross spokeswoman Irene Nakasiita. The storm was over the open Atlantic, east of Norfolk, Virginia, early on Friday after levelling entire communities on the US Gulf Coast. "It was terrible, and now there's just nothing left".



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