Visuals of How Much Damage Hurricane Michael Inflicted on the Gulf Coast

Pablo Tucker
October 11, 2018

Hurricane Michael left a trail of destruction in its wake after making landfall on the Florida Panhandle Wednesday.

The Associated Press reported that across Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas, more than 800,000 customers were without power as of Thursday morning.

Michael had weakened to a Category 1, with maximum winds of 90 miles per hour as of 8:00 pm Eastern time (0000 GMT), but that still left it an extremely unsafe storm.

Some of the most concerning scenes of devastation could be seen in the air base's neighboring coastal communities of Panama City and Mexico Beach.

Roads were filled with piles of floating debris.

Storm surges of between nine and thirteen feet are now projected for the gulf coast between Mexico Beach, Florida (just south of Panama City on the Panhandle) and Keaton Beach on Florida's Big Bend.

Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, called the town "ground zero".

"Think about what we've seen before with storms like Hurricane Irma", he said. "I would have to say at least as long as it did for Hurricane Andrew, and that took months and months".

Residents who evacuated ahead of the storm have been anxious to get back home and to start the clean-up process.

All of the worst hurricanes of the past two years - Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence and Michael - intensified even more rapidly than this.

Smith, in Gadsden County, said the situation was unsafe even for emergency personnel.

Vance Beu, 29, was staying with his mother at her home at Spring Gate Apartments, a complex of single-story wood-frame buildings. "There was a tree involved".

The death, in an area west of state capital Tallahassee, was the first confirmed since Michael made landfall.

"I know you just want to go home, check on things and begin the recovery process".

Red Cross officials said they expect shelter population to swell to 20,000 by Thursday or Friday.

The extent of the damage was becoming clear on Thursday as AFP reporters and photographers toured affected areas and United States television networks flew helicopters along the coast.

RICK SCOTT: Hurricane Michael is a massive storm that could bring total devastation to parts of our state, especially in the Panhandle.

The storm was on track to make an expected exit into the Atlantic Ocean by Friday morning, with some parts of Virginia and North Carolina expected to see as much as nine inches of rain, bringing the likelihood for risky flooding.

After it makes landfall, the storm is predicted to pass into Georgia, where Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday issued a state of emergency covering 92 counties - almost the entire lower two-thirds of his state.

Hurricane Michael's wind and storm surge ripped up buildings like posies and carried them inland.

"We don't know where she's at", he said. "Listen to the scientists at the National Weather Service and they'll tell you that the earth is heating up and the ferociousness of these storms is as a result, in part, of that heating up of the earth".

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

"There's nothing left here anymore", he said of the town.

"This situation has NEVER happened before", it said on Twitter.

USA president Donald Trump approved a federal pre-landfall emergency declaration authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to "coordinate all disaster relief efforts" and to "identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency".

As Hurricane Michael barrels toward the USA states along the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, and Tropical Storm Leslie lingers in the Central Atlantic, Tropical Storm Nadine has formed off the west coast of Africa in the far eastern Atlantic.

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