Hurricane Apocalypse in Florida: Lives Lost, Homes Gone, American Catastrophy

Mindy Sparks
October 13, 2018

"All of my furniture was floating", said Marquardt, 67. "People will just pack up and leave".

- 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.

An entire neighborhood in Mexico Beach, Florida was wiped out by Hurricane Michael.

Some of the hardest-hit places are Mexico Beach and other communities along the Panhandle, where Michael razed buildings, snapped huge trees in half and threw debris over roads.

Hurricane Michael struck on Wednesday with winds of 155mph (250km/h).

In the Millville community of Panama City, many historic homes more than 100 years were destroyed. Twisted street signs lay on the ground. Aluminum siding was shredded and homes were split by fallen trees.

Hundreds of cars had broken windows. Patients were moved out of hurricane-damaged hospitals and nursing homes. Numerous 600 families who live there had followed orders to pack what they could in a single suitcase as they were evacuated.

It could be weeks before power is restored to the most damaged parts of Florida. The elementary school, the flight line, the marina and the runways were devastated.

"I will not recall you and your families until we can guarantee your safety".

"I think that we had an exceptionally high rate of evacuees because we had the message, we kept putting it out", Sheriff Smith told Fox's "Your World with Neil Cavuto".

And unless we change the rate of greenhouse gas emissions, we should expect hurricanes to intensify more rapidly in the coming decades, the scientific research group Climate Central said. "So many families have lost everything", said Florida Gov. Rick Scott, calling it "unimaginable destruction".

An insurance company that produces models for catastrophes estimated the damage at $8 billion. The figure does not include losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program.

Hurricane Patricia, which struck Mexico's Pacific coast on October 23, 2015, strengthened from tropical storm to Category 5 hurricane in 24 hours.

Hurricane Michael's violence was visible on Thursday in shattered Florida coastal towns, where rows of homes were ripped from foundations and roofs were peeled off schools by the near-record-force storm blamed for seven deaths.

The parents of an 11-year-old Georgia girl who was killed after being hit in the head by a portable structure that crashed into her grandparents' home say Sarah Radney "lit up everything". A driver in North Carolina was killed when a tree fell on his auto. Four of them drowned, including James King of Dry Fork, Virginia.

- The state of Florida says 3 million ready-to-eat meals, 2 million gallons of water and 2 million pounds of ice are being distributed in storm-impacted areas.

Sustained winds Thursday night reached 37 miles per hour with gusts up to 67 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

Heavy rainfall from the hurricane is expected to produce risky flash-flooding over swathes of Georgia, the Carolinas and southeastern Virginia.

More than 375,000 people along the Gulf Coast were given mandatory evacuation orders, but many people defied the calls. But emergency authorities lamented that many ignored the warnings.

As of noon ET Friday, the storm had left almost 439,000 accounts without power outages in North Carolina, the state's Emergency Management Agency said. The task ahead: finding and hopefully safely accounting for all those who stayed behind.

The intense power of Michael caught many people off guard.

Numerous beach's residents followed evacuation orders.

A little further on, and a woman, accompanied by a friend, is sifting through the remains of her home, loading what she can salvage into the boot of a vehicle.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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