Published: Sun, October 14, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Florida resident surveys 'total devastation' from Hurricane Michael

Florida resident surveys 'total devastation' from Hurricane Michael

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FOX 13's Jennifer Holton photographed an American flag propped up with sandbags in Mexico Beach.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said the storm had caused "unbelievable devastation" and the priority for the moment was looking for survivors among residents who failed to heed orders to evacuate. No tropical cyclone warnings or watches were in effect in the United States.

So far, the death toll stands at 18 people after Michael roared ashore Wednesday in Mexico Beach as a Category 4 hurricane with 155 miles per hour winds and destructive storm surge.

Emergency officials said they have received thousands of calls asking about missing people.

A driver in North Carolina was killed when a tree fell on his auto.

The deployment follows a request made through the interstate Emergency Management Assistance Compact. The agency declined to provide additional details on the death beyond saying it occurred in Wayne County. In total, four correctional facilities are now closed until "further damage assessment", the department said.

In door-to-door searches, teams comprised 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 US history. According to the latest report by CNN, the death toll now stands at 17.

"You get stunned when you see so much", Mexico Beach resident Robin Retzkoff said.

Long told CNN Friday morning, "I expect the fatality count to climb today and tomorrow as we get through the debris, and I am very frustrated by that, because we seem to not learn this lesson in this country".

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In Mexico Beach, a seafront town where the hurricane made landfall, houses had been razed by storm surge, boats had been tossed into yards and the streets were littered with trees and power lines.

A screen grab of the state's power outages dashboard that displays the percentage of people in each county without power.

62-year-old Ruby Allen became stranded on a bridge while traveling and was swept away by flood waters. A sheriff's deputy and a local resident tried to rescue James E. King Jr., state police said, but the floodwaters were too deep and too swift.

It was unclear how many people were still missing on Saturday.

Eight people, including Sweet, have died in Florida. One man, William Lynn Tanksley, 53, was swept from his vehicle during flash flooding at around 5 p.m. Thursday. "I will not recall you and your families until we can guarantee your safety", Colonel Brian Laidlaw said in a statement. "We still haven't gotten into some of the hardest-hit areas".

People who chose to evacuate were stuck in shelters.

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.

"This is going to be a frustrating event", he said. "I am so proud to see Floridians coming together at this critical time".

Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental 50 years, left a trail of death and destruction, and knocked out power to about 1 million customers in four states. That is how far back the records go.

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