At least 13 killed, including firefighter as crews search for survivors

Blanche Robertson
October 14, 2018

In door-to-door searches, teams consisting mostly of off-duty police officers and firefighters have found more than 520 of the 2,100 people reported missing since Michael crashed ashore near Mexico Beach, Florida, on Wednesday as one of the most powerful storms in USA history.

As of early on October 13, state officials were reporting that at least 18 have been killed in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. High winds, downed trees, streets inundated by rising waters and multiple rescues of motorists from waterlogged cars played out in spots around Virginia and neighboring North Carolina.

FEMA's Long urged communities such as Mexico Beach, where many homes were pulverized by 12 to 14 feet (3.7 to 4.3 meters) of storm surge, to rebuild to withstand future storms.

Surging water filled their first floor, now muddy and ruined.

Hundreds of patients were taken Friday to hospitals across Florida and as far away as Mobile, Alabama, in a parade of ambulances and medical helicopters. "A river just started coming down the road. It was terrible, and now there's just nothing left".

Nearly 1.2 million homes and businesses were without power from Florida to Virginia on Thursday because of the storm. Families living along the Panhandle are now faced with a struggle to survive in a perilous landscape of shattered homes and shopping centers, the storm debris spread far and wide. The storm's 155 miles per hour winds shredded homes, and a 14-foot storm surge bulldozed everything in its path.

He got through a window of his home on to the top of his vehicle outside when Morales saw two neighbors wading through the rushing surge.

Hurricane Michael has come and (thankfully) gone, moving far more quickly than the last such strike on USA soil.

Many people who evacuated the Florida Panhandle now have nowhere to work or live.

The hurricane's eyewall passed directly overhead, severely damaging almost every building and leaving many a complete loss. The elementary school, the flight line, the marina, the runways - all were devastated.

"I want you to get back in your vehicle and stop!" one woman shouted at a man accosting her as she tried to squeeze her auto between two idling vehicles at a Panama City service station running two fuel pumps on a generator.

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"I lost everything", Morales said.

The private, non-profit efforts add to a force of more than 1,700 government-based searchers across Florida, Governor Rick Scott's office said in a statement.

"So many lives have been changed forever. So many families have lost everything", he lamented.

Dough Shelby looks from his house to the destruction in Mexico Beach.

The victims included a man who died when a tree crashed down on his home in Greensboro. An 11-year-old girl in Georgia died when Michael's winds picked up a carport and dropped it through the roof of her grandparents' home.

A bit of good news emerged around noon on Friday in Tallahassee, where the storm felled thousands of its famous oaks and other trees, damaging houses and blocking roads.

Michael barrelled across the southern US on Wednesday (Oct. 10), beginning the day as a Category 4 hurricane and rapidly losing wind strength as it traveled. Four of them drowned, including James King of Dry Fork, Virginia.

US Gulf of Mexico producers have cut oil output by 32 per cent and natural gas output by 13 per cent due to lingering effects of Michael, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said on Friday, citing reports from 27 companies. It adds that Hanover County firefighter Lt. Brad Clark was killed and several others were injured when a tractor trailer rear-ended a fire truck that was stopped at a crash site.

It was threatening to spark flash floods and inflict wind damage to parts of North Carolina and the southern Mid-Atlantic still recovering from last month's Hurricane Florence.

Meanwhile, Carroll said, authorities were setting up a triage tent to treat Mexico Beach residents stepping on nails and cutting themselves on debris.

In the wake of Hurricane Michael, many journalists in the Florida panhandle are living through the same nightmare as other local residents, and working in incredibly hard conditions. Numerous buildings, particularly the shelters, were built to withstand that type of punishment and people received enough warning to plan ahead, stock up provisions and seek the safest location possible.

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