Florida: Authorities say 11 now dead from Hurricane Michael
Florida: Authorities say 11 now dead from Hurricane Michael
Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall Wednesday on the Florida Panhandle
12 October, 2018, 16:29
With a low barometric pressure recorded at 919 millibars, a measure of a hurricane's force, Michael was the third strongest storm on record to hit the continental United States, behind only Hurricane Camille on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969 and the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 in the Florida Keys.
Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center in hard-hit Panama City, 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Mexico Beach, was treating some of the injured. The town was under a mandatory evacuation order as the rapidly developing storm closed in, but some people were determined to ride it out. And then there was the life-threatening storm surge to deal with.
Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith said his deputies had gone door to door in some places along the coast to urge people to evacuate.
"Oh my God, what are we seeing?" said evacuee Rachel Franklin, her mouth hanging open.
USA president Donald Trump approved a federal pre-landfall emergency declaration authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to "coordinate all disaster relief efforts" and to "identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency".
Michael also disrupted energy operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico as it approached land, cutting crude oil production by more than 40 percent and natural gas output by almost a third as offshore platforms were evacuated.
"The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Michael", Deal said.
"We brought all four of them and their cat to my condo", she said.
13-year-old Kaleb Cassel removes belongings from a flea market damaged by Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. It also was about 200 miles (325 kilometres) south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida.
By comparison Tropical Storm Nadine, which is churning west from the coast of Africa, is facing the same level of wind shear that Michael faced, or up to 25 miles per hour.
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"So many families have lost everything", said Florida Gov. Rick Scott, calling it "unimaginable destruction".
He said: "My expectation is if you are a health care facility you have a responsibility to take care of those patients". County officials say they're not releasing names or other details yet while families are notified.
"I know you just want to go home". "We've got supplies to last us a week. We got everything tied down".
"We haven't seen her since the tree hit the den. But in my experience, it's always blown way out of proportion".
"The time to evacuate coastal areas has come and gone", Scott said at a news conference Wednesday. That included Pensacola Beach but not in Pensacola itself, a city of about 54,000. The Category 4 storm intensified as it made landfall in the area, causing homes to be completely wiped out from flood waters.
Forecasters said it could bring 3 to 6 inches (7 to 14 centimetres) of rain to Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia, triggering flash flooding in a corner of the country still recovering from Florence.
Bur forecasters fear serious hazards could also have a huge impact dozens of miles inland, with storm surges possibly flooding rivers while Tallahassee could be battered by winds of 75mph.
As the storm closed in on the USA, it caused havoc in the Caribbean.
The storm tore entire neighborhoods 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.
Authorities said the death toll is likely to rise. Roofs were peeled away and sent airborne.
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