Florida Panhandle Seeing Progress, But Still Reeling 4 Days After Storm

Weakening Hurricane Michael Swirls Over North Carolina in Satellite Images

Weakening Hurricane Michael Swirls Over North Carolina in Satellite Images

At least 18 people have died, and more than 1,500 are informally missing as a result of Hurricane Michael, which made landfall in the Florida panhandle on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm, carrying sustained winds of 155 miles per hour.

Miami Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban, leader of a search-and-rescue unit that entered the devastated community, said: "We have one confirmed deceased and are working to determine if there are others".

"We still haven't gotten into the hardest-hit areas", he said.

Overall, well over a dozen deaths have been attributed to Hurricane Michael, which slammed Florida's panhandle as a catastrophic Category 4 storm earlier this week.

Damaged and destroyed buildings in an aerial photograph, taken during a post-Hurricane Michael flight by a Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter over Mexico Beach, Fla., on October 11, 2018. Two out of the three people who were killed in North Carolina died when their vehicle struck a tree that had fallen because of high winds, said Adrienne Jones, deputy director for the McDowell County Emergency Medical Services. FEMA Administrator William "Brock" Long said he believed that the toll would increase, particularly as first responders got into places like Mexico Beach. The dramatic scene unfolded near Panama City as they brought up person after person.

"He yelled at me a little bit and said, 'Oh, I'm looting.' And he opened the door to the police officer's SUV with the lights going".

Michael hit the south east as a Category 4 hurricane this week, with wind speeds just shy of a Category 5.

Crews with backhoes and other heavy equipment scooped up splintered boards, broken glass, chunks of asphalt and other debris in hurricane-flattened Mexico Beach on Sunday as the mayor held out hope for the 250 or so residents who may have tried to ride out the storm.

People who live in Mexico Beach don't know where to start.

Weakening Hurricane Michael Swirls Over North Carolina in Satellite Images

Many of those who did survive don't have water or power.

David Prevatt, an associate professor of civil and coastal engineering at the University of Florida, said in an email Thursday that drone footage of the devastation in Mexico Beach showed structural damage to roofs and exterior walls, and damaged rafters and trusses, "indicating the strength of the wind that caused those failures". "It's just a building", said Pastor Cole Bailey.

A man walked through the damaged historical downtown district of Panama City, Fla., on Friday.

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 United States.

In Panama City Beach, churches are ready to help even though they weren't spared from the destruction.

The death toll remains at 18 but authorities say it could continue climbing. And they say it's devastating.

"IsraAID now has a team in North Carolina, assisting in the recovery and reconstruction of communities struck by Hurricane Florence, and we are preparing to send a team to the worst-affected area in the Florida panhandle as soon as possible".

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.

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