How North Texans can help Hurricane Michael victims

Terry Joseph
October 13, 2018

Hurricane Michael, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the continental USA, slammed into the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, unleashing a trail of destruction across 321km that splintered houses, peeled off roofs and stirred up a terrifying surge of seawater that submerged entire neighbourhoods and sent boats careening down city streets. "Mexico Beach, there's no barrier island out there to protect it, so it got the full force of the Category 4 wind and that wall of water".

Search-and-rescue teams began finding bodies in and around Mexico Beach, the ground-zero town almost obliterated by Hurricane Michael, an official said Friday as the scale of the storm's fury became ever clearer. Around midday it was expected to become one of the Panhandle's worst hurricanes in memory with 125 miles per hour winds and a life-threatening storm surge of up to 13 feet (4 meters).

"Today is the day".

"The Gulf Power system held strong from Pensacola to Fort Walton Beach - a testament to the investments we've made to harden our infrastructure", Gulf Power spokesman Jeff Rogers said in a statement.

Sally Crown rode out Michael on the Florida Panhandle thinking at first that the worst damage was the many trees downed in her yard.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson went to Panama City, up the coast from Mexico Beach, and was stunned by what he saw.

It warned of possible flash flooding in North Carolina and Virginia and said the storm was still packing winds of 50 miles per hour.

"This is a life-threatening situation", the NHC said in its latest public advisory.

But governor Rick Scott vowed: 'Hurricane Michael can not break Florida'.

President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday: "We are very well prepared for the incoming hurricane".

Florida emergency officials say they're starting to transfer patients out of damaged health care facilities. "It looks like another big one".

Florida will give each of the impacted county 200 generators, so they can power their traffic lights, Scott said.

Michael was blamed for at least two deaths: a man in Gadsden County died when a tree fell and a girl in Seminole County, Georgia.

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The winds were strong enough to pierce the windshield of a vehicle in Panama City Beach. Boats once docked in the canal have been pushed far up onto the land, and much of what would normally be on land floats in the canal.

"The storm surge is absolutely deadly".

Five drilling rigs have been moved out of the storm's path, according to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. The American Red Cross is on the ground providing safe shelter, relief supplies and more to residents in Florida and surrounding states.

For residents who want to leave, local authorities are stressing timely evacuation, too. "You couldn't see anything anywhere".

In North Carolina's mountains, motorists had to be rescued Thursday from cars trapped by high water.

Schools and state offices in the area are to remain shut this week. "This is going to have structure damaging winds along the coast and hurricane force winds inland".

Tallahassee International Airport ‏is suspending commercial flight activity as 12:01 a.m. ET on Wednesday but expects to resume activity on Thursday. Search and rescue teams were still trying to account for those people.

"We have a massive flow of search and rescue, Highway Patrol, National Guard, utility workers, pushing their way down to these impacted areas", the governor said. When their house filled with surging ocean water, they fled upstairs.

Emergency responders throughout Georgia, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle are working to clear roadways and provide aid to those hit from the storm.

"Same devastation. Same winds", she said.

Michael, the 7th hurricane in 2018 in the Atlantic basin.

SULLIVAN: That's Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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