Monday, 22 October, 2018

Hurricane Michael crushes Georgia, heads toward Carolinas

Joe Raedle  Getty Images Waves crash along a pier from hurricane Michael Oct. 10 2018 in Panama City Beach Fla Joe Raedle Getty Images Waves crash along a pier from hurricane Michael Oct. 10 2018 in Panama City Beach Fla
Kristen Harrington | 12 October, 2018, 06:44

Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of more than 249 km/h Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighbourhoods before continuing its march inland.

"Not yet - knock on wood", she said.

"I know we have a lot of people that I have heard are injured", Governor Rick Scott, who plans to visit impacted areas later in the day, told CNN.

An estimated 6,000 people evacuated to emergency shelters, mostly in Florida, and that number was expected to swell to 20,000 across five states by week's end, said Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross.

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While search-and-rescue teams were having difficulty reaching some areas on Thursday, the extent of the damage is slowly becoming clear with the before and after images showing the severe destruction.

Hundreds of cars had broken windows and twisted street signs lay on the ground.

Home after home was razed from its foundations in the town of around 1,000 people, leaving just bare concrete slabs.

From Florida to Alabama and Georgia to the Carolinas, over 900,000 homes and businesses have lost electricity. Officials are opening temporary hospitals in that area. The video shows collapsed roofing and walls, scattered debris and mangled building materials. No patients were hurt, the hospital said.

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It killed two people, left thousands without power, uprooted trees and destroyed the region.

Two deaths have so far been attributed to the storm, with one person said to have died as the result of a falling tree in Gadson County, Florida, and a child reported to have been killed when a tree crashed through a mobile home. One of the carport's legs punctured the roof and hit her in the head.

A pine tree broke a hole in their roof and his ears popped when the barometric pressure plummeted.

"For North Carolina, Michael isn't as bad as Florence, but it adds unwelcome insult to injury, so we must be on alert", Gov. Roy Cooper said. But it moved fast and intensified quickly, and emergency authorities lamented that many people ignored the warnings.

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Even before landfall, the hurricane disrupted energy operations in the Gulf, cutting crude oil production by more than 40 per cent and natural gas output by almost one-third as offshore platforms were evacuated before the storm hit. Based on wind speed, it was the fourth-strongest, behind the Labor Day storm (184 miles per hour, or 296 kph), Camille and Andrew in 1992.

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