Track Hurricane Michael flooding in real time

Cesar Mills
October 12, 2018

A few blocks inland, about half the homes were reduced to piles of wood and siding and those still standing suffered heavy damage.

Hurricane Michael is forecast to track across Georgia from Albany to near Macon and eventually by Augusta, becoming a tropical storm by the time it reaches Georgia eastern border.

Linda Burton returned to Parker, a town of about 4,300 northwest of Mexico Beach, from a storm haven in Alabama to find her motorhome had been destroyed by falling trees.

Michael killed at least two people - a man who died when a tree toppled onto his house in Florida and a girl who died when debris fell into a home in Georgia, officials and local media said.

The death toll from hurricane Michael, one of the most powerful storms to make landfall in the USA mainland, rose to six, with authorities warning that the toll could further increase as search and rescue efforts continue.

- Rescued: 47 helped out of hard-hit areas along Florida's coastline, and 20 people in flooded neighborhoods in North Carolina.

The rescue came just hours after Hurricane Michael ripped through Florida's Panhandle, almost wiping out Panama City and Mexico Beach. Michael left a trail of utility wires on roads, flattened tall pine trees and knocked a steeple from a church.

"The wind was really tearing us apart".

"We're looking at a significant storm with significant impact, possibly greater than I've seen in my 59 years of life, " Mr Johnson said of his city on the shore of Apalachicola Bay, where about 90% of Florida's oysters are harvested. The hurricane damaged hospitals and nursing homes in Panama City, and officials worked to evacuate hundreds of patients.

At Jinks Middle School in Panama City, the storm peeled back part of the gym roof and tore off one wall, leaving the wooden floor covered in water.

As of Thursday evening, more than 900,000 homes and businesses in the country's Southeast region had no electricity. A year ago the school welcomed students and families displaced by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The second floor of some apartments are just gone.

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"I have had employees going to the communities where our kids live, going door to door and checking", Principal Britt Smith by phone.

As of 11 p.m. Thursday, Michael's core was located about 15 miles north-northeast of Norfolk, Virginia, and was moving northeast at 25 mph, according to the National Hurricane Centre (NHC).

Video from a drone revealed some of the worst damage in Mexico Beach, where the hurricane crashed ashore Wednesday as a Category 4 monster with 155 miles per hour (250 kph) winds and a storm surge of 9 feet (2.7 meters). He said people will "not be dragged out of their homes, " but anyone who stays behind will be on their own once the storm hits.

"Why people didn't evacuate is something we should be studying", said Craig Fugate, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a former Florida state emergency management chief.

Michael pummelled communities across the Panhandle and turned streets into roof-high waterways.

Mexico Beach is a small tourist town toward the center of Florida's panhandle.

The Florida Panhandle, Big Bend and southern Georgia were expected to receive as much as 8 inches (20 cm) of rainfall, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches that may lead to severe flash flooding.

Brad Rippey, a meteorologist for the U.S. Agriculture Department, said Michael severely damaged cotton, timber, pecans and peanuts, causing estimated liabilities as high as $1.9 billion and affecting up to 3.7 million crop acres (1.5 million hectares).

The Gulf of Mexico is home to 17 percent of daily U.S. crude oil output and 5 percent of daily natural gas output, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Hurricane Michael is a Category 4 storm approaching the Florida Gulf Coast.

Other reports by GizPress

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