Indiana Task Force One Sending Emergency Team To Help With Hurricane Michael

13 October, 2018, 07:15 | Author: Courtney Reynolds
  • Hurricane Michael takes aim at 300-mile Gulf Coast target

At least six deaths have been blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental over 50 years.

Although Hurricane Michael's worst days are over, its death toll has risen to 11 as several smaller towns on Florida's panhandle lie in near-total devastation.

In Hanover County, a firefighter died and four others were injured, including three seriously, after a tractor trailer crashed into them as they tried to help with another crash involving two vehicles along Interstate 295 outside Mechanicsville, Va.

One of those deaths would be a man killed by a falling tree.

"Hurricane Michael is going to be a devastating storm to a part of Florida that has not seen a storm of this magnitude in quite some time", FEMA Associate Administrator Jeff Byard said today.

In North Carolina, a 38-year-old man was killed when a tree fell onto his auto as he was driving, Iredell County officials said.

By early Friday it wasn't almost over yet: a tropical storm long after Wednesday's landfall, Michael stubbornly kept up its punch while barreling over land toward an expected exit across the open Atlantic.

Long asked people in the areas directly hit by the storm to be patient for what is poised to be a long recovery, because it will take time to assess the damage and confront the destruction.

Before the latest victims were reported, authorities had recorded four deaths in Florida's Gadsden County, one in Georgia and one in North Carolina. Video from lineman Brian Kannada showed thousands of power trucks staged at the Pensacola fairgrounds until Hurricane Michael passed.

Some fear the toll can only rise as rescue teams get around storm debris blocking roads and reach isolated areas.

Michael charged ashore near the small Florida Panhandle town of Mexico Beach as one of the most powerful storms in USA history, with winds of up to 155 miles per hour (250 km per hour).

Entire blocks of homes near the beach were obliterated, leaving concrete slabs in the sand. Neighbors struggled to find their homes on streets with piles of wood where houses once stood.

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More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were ordered or urged to clear out as Michael closed in, but emergency authorities lamented that many ignored the warnings.

The number of dead was expected to rise, but authorities scrapped plans for setting up a temporary morgue, indicating they had yet to see signs of mass casualties from the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental almost 50 years.

Mishelle McPherson and her ex-husband searched for the elderly mother of a friend.

"Oooooh wow, our new house", she said, her voice shaking.

"When state and local officials tell you to get out, dang it, do it. Get out", he said.

Even as rescuers searched the rubble for survivors or the deceased, some residents of Mexico Beach were nervously trickling back on Friday, expressing hope the place, nicknamed "the Forgotten Coast", would not change too much as it rebuilds.

- Damage estimates: Boston-based Karen Clark & Company, an insurance company that produces models for catastrophes, is estimating Hurricane Michael caused about $8 billion in insured losses.

"All of my furniture was floating", said Ms Marquardt, 67.

"It's not just a coastal issue", Graham said, warning that people will "start seeing this rain, start seeing this wind stretch further inland". "People will just pack up and leave".

As thousands of National Guard troops, law enforcement officers and medical teams spread out, the governor pleaded with people in the devastated areas to stay away because of hazards such as fallen trees and power lines. "I just have to be hopeful that (the town) will be rebuilt and fixed".

"It's OK if you want to live on the coast or on top of a mountain that sees wildfires or whatever, but you have to build to a higher standard", he said.


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