Florida search-and-rescue teams are searching for survivors after Hurricane Michael carved a path of devastation through several communities. According to FEMA administrator Brock Long, Mexico Beach “took the brunt’ of Michael’s carnage, adding “That’s probably ground zero.”
“Today is a big day for us when it comes to helping people,” said Long during the Thursday morning press briefing, adding “Power is not going to be on for a while.“
The latest developments, per the New York Times:
• At least four deaths were linked to the storm in Gadsden County, west of Tallahassee, according to Lt. Anglie Hightower, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office. The victims included a man who died when a tree crashed down on his home in Greensboro.
• An 11-year-old girl, Sarah Radney, was killed on Wednesday when a carport was torn away and was sent hurtling into the modular home she was in, said Chad Smith, the coroner of Seminole County, Ga. “She was sitting right next to her grandmother,” said Mr. Smith, who described the girl’s death as a “horrible accident.”
• Emergency officials rushed to evacuate more than 300 patients from storm-damaged hospitals in Panama City. In total, four hospitals and 11 nursing facilities were closed in Florida. A nursing facility in Georgia was also closed.
• Much of the coast of the Florida Panhandle, including parts of Panama City and Mexico Beach, was left in ruins. The area is dotted with small, rural communities, some of them among the poorest in the state. Evacuation was difficult. Read more about how the storm was hard on people without the means to evacuate.
• At 11 a.m. on Thursday, Michael was about 25 miles south of Greensboro, N.C., heading northeast with sustained wind speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Now a tropical storm, it is moving relatively quickly, at 23 m.p.h., and is expected to speed up as it crosses the Carolinas and blows out to sea by early Friday. Click on the map below to see the storm’s projected path.
• More than 1.1 million homes and businesses were without electricity on Thursday, state agencies and utility companies said.
• “The big problem with this hurricane was the tremendous power,” President Trump said on Thursday, adding that “we’ve not seen destruction like that for a long time.”
Aerial footage shows widespread damage. “I have no words,” CNN‘s Brooke Baldwin exclaimed. “It’s gone… it’s obliterated… I’ve never seen anything like this.”
ABC 13 captured the heavily damaged roof of a high school gymnasium, as well as the utter destruction along the rest of Mexico Beach.
A fighter jet (air frame), undoubtedly stripped of most “heavy” components was tipped over.
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