Devastating aftermath from Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida

Cristina Cross
October 12, 2018

Tropical Storm Michael took its drenching rains to Georgia and the Carolinas on October 10, after battering Florida's Panhandle as the third most powerful hurricane ever to strike the USA mainland and killing at least two people.

Mexico Beach, located on Florida's northwestern coast, "took the brunt" of Hurricane Michael and is "probably ground zero", FEMA administrator Brock Long said Thursday.

"We are catching some hell" was how a Panama City Beach resident who chose to ride it out described Michael as it made landfall. Nine people had to be rescued by helicopter from a bathroom of a home in hard-hit Panama City after their roof collapsed, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald Hodges said.

- Power outages: Roughly a million customers in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and SC lost power.

Virginia authorities have confirmed five storm-related deaths in the state.

Residents emerged in the early evening to assess damage when rains stopped, though skies were still overcast and windy.

Michael Williams, 70, waved to passing motorists while looking for food and water as downed trees prevented him from driving out of his damaged home with his family in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Springfield, Fla., today.

The 11-year-old girl and at least five others have been killed since Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle Wednesday and slammed Georgia and the Carolinas through Thursday, officials said.

Tropical-storm force winds extend outward 160 miles from the eye of the storm.

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"We had houses that were on one side of the street and now they're on the other", said Mayor Bo Patterson, who watched trees fly by his window as he rode out the storm in his home seven blocks from the beach.

On its current track the storm is headed for the Carolinas, where cities and towns are still recovering from Hurricane Florence last month.

As of 2 p.m. EST, the tropical storm was 25 miles south of Greensboro, North Carolina.

The 11-year-old girl died after the strong winds swept up a metal carport and blew it into her home, hitting her on the head. He said there were numerous trees down across the county.

Six Florida counties remain under curfews, as work crews try to push debris off of roads so utility and emergency crews can start to fix the damage and reach people who need help.

"I wanted to let you guys know exactly what is going on", she said, speaking about a curfew that had been instituted in nearby Bay County because of concerns about looting from the outages.

Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather, such as storms, droughts, floods and fires. The debris was a problem in many coastal communities and still hundreds of thousands of people were also left without power. "Make no mistake. Michael is a awful storm".

Multiple buildings in Panama City were demolished or left without roofs while deserted streets were littered with debris, fallen tree trunks and dangling wires.

At least 1,085,356 people in six states were without power according to local power and energy agencies. Total damages from storm surge are estimated to be $3.7 billion, of which about ten percent will be insured.

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