Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

USA hurricane leaves homes unmoored, power lines damaged

S Hurricane Michael drenches Florida Panhandle S Hurricane Michael drenches Florida Panhandle
Sandra Phillips | 13 October, 2018, 08:29

When their house filled with surging ocean water, they fled upstairs.

Homes destroyed by Hurricane Michael are shown in this aerial photo Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Mexico Beach, Florida.

"All of my furniture was floating", said Marquardt, 67.

Sarah had just started the sixth grade and joined the drama club and the band. "It was bad, and now there's just nothing left".

The storm, which has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, was the strongest on record to hit the Florida Panhandle and the third most powerful to strike the US mainland. The storm, still packing hurricane-force winds, then tore through Georgia before tracking through the Carolinas and Virginia on its way out to sea. "We need to restore basic utilities, clear our roads of trees and power lines, and assess the structural integrity of our buildings". Flash flooding also was reported in the big North Carolina cities of Charlotte and Raleigh.

A storm surge watch was in effect for Ocracoke Inlet, N.C.to Duck, N.C., Thursday, the NHC said.

More than 1.5 million homes and businesses on the U.S. East Coast were without power on Friday as Hurricane Michael and its remnants marched from Florida to Virginia, according to local power companies.

FEMA administrator Brock Long estimated the power outages from the storm affected between 500,000 and 600,000, which was fewer than he had anticipated, adding that it could be "multiple weeks" before electricity is restored to some homes.

A Family Dollar Store that had the storefront ripped off is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Millville.

"What I'm afraid of is "hurricane amnesia" - 10 years is going to go by and we're going to forget about what happened at Mexico Beach", Long said at a press breifing Friday in Washington.

In the Millville community of Panama City, many historic homes more than 100 years were destroyed. Twisted street signs lay on the ground. Aluminum siding was shredded and homes were split by fallen trees.

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Death toll from Hurricane Michael rises to 6
Caldwell says there were five suspected tornadoes in the state, but they are still awaiting National Weather Service confirmation. The Florida State Emergency Response Team meanwhile said 400,000 homes and businesses were without power.

Hundreds of cars had broken windows. Patients were moved out of hurricane-damaged hospitals and nursing homes. "So many families have lost everything", said Florida Gov. Rick Scott, calling it "unimaginable destruction". It doesn't include losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program.

And Michael also was deadly, both in Florida and beyond.

It killed at least four people in Florida, five in Virginia, three in North Carolina and two in Georgia, officials said.

In Seminole County, Georgia, a metal carport crashed through a roof, hitting a girl's head. Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press conference that an Iredell County man was killed when a tree fell on a vehicle, the Charlotte Observer reported.

Some fear the toll can only rise as rescue teams reach isolated areas and work through storm debris. Numerous 600 families who live there had followed orders to pack what they could in a single suitcase as they were evacuated ahead of the storm. But it moved fast and intensified quickly, and emergency authorities lamented that many people ignored the warnings.

Authorities said about 285 of Mexico Beach's 1,000 residents failed to heed the mandatory evacuation order.

Now they have the grim task of accounting for all who stayed behind.

Rescue teams were using sniffer dogs in Mexico Beach on Friday in a search for victims who may be buried under the rubble in the debris-strewn community. National Guard troops found 20 survivors initially Wednesday night, and more rescue crews are arriving.

Most of the full-time residents, LaFountain said, have some connection to the hospitality industry.

Decambre said she had opened her home to a friend who takes care of three elderly women. The woman lived in a small cinderblock house about 150 yards from the Gulf and thought she would be OK.

'Do you think her body would be here?'

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