Fri, Oct 12, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Hurricane Michael slams into Florida, two killed


Boats lay sunk or damaged at the Port St Joe Marina in Port St Joe, Florida, on Wednesday as Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle.

Photo: AP

The most powerful hurricane on record to hit Florida’s Panhandle left wide destruction and at least two people dead, and it was not nearly finished yesterday, as it crossed Georgia as a tropical storm toward the Carolinas, which are still reeling from epic flooding by Hurricane Florence.

A day after the supercharged storm crashed ashore amid white sand beaches, fishing towns and military bases, Michael was no longer a Category 4 monster packing 250kph winds.

As the tropical storm continued to weaken, it was still menacing the southeast US with heavy rains, blustery winds and possible spinoff tornadoes.

Authorities said at least two people have died, a man killed by a tree falling on a Panhandle home and, according to WMAZ-TV, an 11-year-old girl was also killed by a tree falling on a home in southwest Georgia.

Search-and-rescue crews were expected to escalate efforts to reach hardest-hit areas and check for anyone trapped or injured in the storm debris.

The US National Hurricane Center in Miami early yesterday said that the eye of Michael was about 144km northeast of Macon, Georgia, and about 72km west of Augusta.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds had decreased to 80kph and it was moving to the northeast at 33kph.

After daylight yesterday, residents of north Florida would just be beginning to take stock of the enormity of the disaster.

Damage in Panama City near where Hurricane Michael came ashore on Wednesday was so extensive that broken and uprooted trees and downed power lines lay nearly everywhere.

Roofs were peeled away, sent airborne, and homes were split open by fallen trees.

Twisted street signs lay on the ground. Palm trees whipped wildly in the winds. More than 380,000 homes and businesses were without power at the height of the storm.

Florida Governor Rick Scott announced afterward that thousands of law enforcement officers, utility crews and search-and-rescue teams would go into recovery mode.

He said “aggressive” search-and-rescue efforts would get under way.

“Hurricane Michael cannot break Florida,” Scott said.

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