Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Photos and videos show mass destruction from 'Monstrous' Michael in Florida

Photos and videos show mass destruction from 'Monstrous' Michael in Florida

Florida governor Rick Scott had warned of "unimaginable devastation" from the approaching menace, and it looked like he was proved right on Thursday morning as the first rescue and fix crews arrived to assess the damage.

"So many lives have been changed forever", he said.

An estimated 6,000 people evacuated to emergency shelters, mostly in Florida, and that number was expected to swell to 20,000 across five states by week's end, said Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross.

Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle Wednesday as the most powerful hurricane on record.

More than 70 percent of cell towers were down in the hardest-hit counties where the storm made landfall, and more than 185,000 cable customers in Florida were without service.

"There were mandatory evacuation orders, but only idiots like us stuck around", said Jordon Tood, 31, a charter boat captain in Port St. Joe.

The hurricane, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to strike the USA mainland, left at least two people dead.

A day after making landfall near Mexico Beach in Florida as a Category 4 monster packing 155 miles per hour winds, Tropical Storm Michael continued to weaken but was still threatening the Southeast with heavy rains, heavy winds and possible spinoff tornadoes.

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Twenty survivors were found in the town overnight, AP reports, but 285 had refused to obey warnings to evacuate.

Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, called Mexico Beach, which has a population of about 1,200, "ground zero" for the hurricane damage.

Trees were downed in Panama City buildings flattened, boats and electrical cables scattered.

Twenty miles (32km) south of Mexico Beach, floodwaters were more than 7 feet (2.1 meters) deep near Apalachicola, a town of about 2,300 residents, hurricane center chief Ken Graham said.

Mr Scott urged residents not to return until the authorities "make sure things are safe", given the danger from power lines and other debris.

So far, two deaths have been confirmed: one in Florida and another in Georgia where trees came crashing down on both victims.

Among those brought to safety were nine people rescued by helicopter from a bathroom of their home in Panama City, another one of the hardest-hit spots, after their roof collapsed, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald Hodges said.

Sarah Radney, who lived in Seminole County, Georgia, died when the winds picked up a carport and dropped it on her home.

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