Devastation in Florida, flooding elsewhere — WHAT'S HAPPENING

James Marshall
October 13, 2018

- The human cost: Virginia had five storm related deaths, including two people who were swept away from their vehicles by floodwaters; four people were killed in Gadsden County, Florida, near Tallahassee; three people died in North Carolina, one man from a falling tree and two others whose auto smashed into a tree felled by the storm; and an 11-year-old girl in Seminole County, Georgia was killed when a carport blew through the roof of her grandparents' home. All the stores, all the restaurants, everything.

The storm tore entire neighbourhoods 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.

There is not much left of what used to be the parish hall of St. Dominic Catholic Church in Panama City.

"Our biggest thing is the downed lines and the downed trees", said Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson.

The official said that after Hurricane Irma in September 2017, a field hospital was required in the Florida Keys for a year, and similar situations may be required with Michael. She's desperate for news about the condition of her home, but she can't reach anyone, she says.

"I was sinkin', sinkin' fast.when I turned I immediately started sinkin' and I knew that I had hit the ditch and I put it in reverse and of course, it didnt go anywhere". The company, however, said some outages in the hardest hit areas could take several days to fix.

"Resiliency is important, and it's an important life message that we all have to learn".

"We are not completely done".

Uprooted trees, downed power poles and limited communications have made it hard for first responders and families to reach residents in need.

Search teams continued to pick their way through the ruins of Mexico Beach, the ground-zero town of about 1,000 people that was almost wiped off the map when Michael blew ashore there on Wednesday with devastating 155 miles per hour winds.

A 38-year-old motorist also was killed by a massive tree in Statesville, NC, and 11-year-old Sarah Radney of Georgia was killed when a metal carport struck her in the head as she hunkered down in her Seminole County home.

FEMA said those were just initial counties, and it would likely add more counties as more damage assessments are done. "5 suspected tornadoes", the Virginia Department of Emergency Management said on Twitter.

Her brother was able to tell a friend that his home was starting to get cracks in the walls and water was rushing in Wednesday.

After slamming Florida and lashing Georgia, Michael is now barreling through the storm-weary Carolinas. Though most homes were still standing, no property was left undamaged. Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center was treating some, but the hospital evacuated 130 patients as it faced challenges of running on generators after the storm knocked out power, ripped off part of its roof and smashed windows, a spokesman for the hospital's owner HCA Healthcare said in an email. "I just thank God my kids and my grandkids were not in the vehicle". The center of Michael is expected to cross into southeastern Virginia close to midnight and then move into the western Atlantic Ocean overnight. The NHC forecasts up to 7 inches for north-central North Carolina, into south-central to southeast Virginia. "I'll never step back in there", she says through her tears. When she spoke to CNN on Thursday, she had lost a chicken coop and four of her six gardens.

The Environmental Protection Agency says there were no reports of oil spills or other hazardous materials, as occurred during Hurricane Harvey a year ago in Houston and Hurricane Florence last month in the Carolinas. Unlike many storms, which form off the coast of Africa, Michael organized in the Caribbean, giving forecasters less time to track it before it made landfall. The planet has warmed significantly over the past several decades, causing changes in the environment. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provided a website with satellite images for people to check on the condition of homes.

"We've got to figure something out".

"It just got this bad, but it could be worse", said Murphy. 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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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