UPDATE: Authorities say 11 now dead from Hurricane Michael

1 year 7 months 2 weeks ago Friday, October 12 2018 Oct 12, 2018 Friday, October 12, 2018 6:14:00 AM CDT October 12, 2018 in News
By: The Associated Press
loading

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — Linda Marquardt rode out Hurricane Michael with her husband at their home in Mexico Beach. When their house filled with surging ocean water, they fled upstairs. Now their home is full of mud and everywhere they look there's utter devastation in their Florida Panhandle community: fishing boats tossed like toys, roofs lifted off of buildings and pine trees snapped like matchsticks in 155 mph winds.

Row after row of beachfront homes were so obliterated by Michael's surging seas and howling winds that only slabs of concrete in the sand remain, a testament that this was ground zero when the epic Category 4 hurricane slammed ashore at midweek. The destruction in this and other communities dotting the white-sand beaches is being called catastrophic — and it will need billions of dollars to rebuild.

"All of my furniture was floating," said Marquardt, 67. "'A river just started coming down the road. It was awful, and now there's just nothing left."

At least 11 deaths were blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in over 50 years, and by early Friday it wasn't over yet: a tropical storm long after Wednesday's landfall, Michael stubbornly kept up its punch while barreling up the Southeast, dumping heavy rains and spreading flash flooding misery as far away as Virginia.

High winds, downed trees, streets inundated by rising waters and multiple rescues of motorists from waterlogged cars played out in spots around Virginia and neighboring North Carolina. And while forecasters said Michael was gradually losing its tropical traits, it was a new chapter would begin as an extratropical storm predicted to intensify with gale force winds once it starts cross out into the Atlantic.

In North Carolina's mountains, motorists had to be rescued Thursday from cars trapped by high water. High winds toppled trees and power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands without power. Flash flooding also was reported in the big North Carolina cities of Charlotte and Raleigh. Similar scenes played out in parts of Virginia as the storm raced seaward.

All told, more than 900,000 homes and businesses in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas were without power.

Meanwhile, thousands of National Guard troops, law enforcement officers and rescue teams still had much to do in the hardest hit area: Florida's Panhandle. Families living along the Panhandle are now faced with a struggle to survive in a perilous landscape of shattered homes and shopping centers, the storm debris spread far and wide.

In one community, Panama City, most homes were still standing, but no property was left undamaged. Downed power lines and twisted street signs lay all around. Aluminum siding was shredded and homes were split by fallen trees. Hundreds of cars had broken windows. The hurricane damaged hospitals and nursing homes in Panama City, and officials worked to evacuate hundreds of patients.

"So many lives have been changed forever. So many families have lost everything," said Florida Gov. Rick Scott, calling it "unimaginable destruction."

An insurance company that produces models for catastrophes estimated Michael caused about $8 billion in damage. Boston-based Karen Clark & Company released that estimate Thursday, which includes privately insured wind and storm surge damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties and vehicles. It doesn't include losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program.

And Michael also was deadly, both in Florida and beyond.

A man outside Tallahassee, Florida, was killed by a falling tree was the first of "4 storm-related fatalities" announced by the Gadsden County Sheriff's office. An 11-year-old girl in Georgia died when Michael's winds picked up a carport and dropped it through the roof of her grandparents' home. A driver in North Carolina was killed when a tree fell on his car. Then, as Michael blew through Virginia as a tropical storm, authorities said five people there were killed, including four who drowned and a firefighter whose truck was struck by a tractor-trailer as he responded to an accident in heavy storm conditions.

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

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 Coast Guard said it rescued at least 27 people before and after the hurricane's landfall, mostly from coastal homes. Nine people had to be rescued by helicopter from a bathroom of a home in hard-hit Panama City after their roof collapsed, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald Hodges said.

In hard-hit Mexico Beach alone, state officials say, 285 people in Mexico Beach defied a mandatory evacuation order ahead of Michael. The task ahead: finding and hopefully safely accounting for all those who stayed behind.

National Guard troops made their way into the ground-zero town and found 20 survivors initially Wednesday night, and more rescue crews are arriving. But the fate of many residents was unknown.

Mishelle McPherson and her ex-husband searched for the elderly mother of a friend. The woman lived in a small cinderblock house about 150 yards (meters) from the Gulf and thought she would be OK. The home was found smashed, with no sign of the woman.

"Do you think her body would be here? Do you think it would have floated away?" McPherson asked.

___

Associated Press writers Tamara Lush in St. Petersburg, Florida; Gary Fineout in Tallahassee, Florida; Terry Spencer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Jennifer Kay and Freida Frisaro in Miami; Brendan Farrington in St. Marks, Florida; Russ Bynum in Keaton Beach, Florida; Jonathan Drew in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Maryland, contributed to this story.

More News

Grid
List
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. ... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 2:21:00 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — MU's Office for Civil Rights & Title IX is investigating a Snapchat video that was widely criticized... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 12:51:48 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
ELDON - The Miller County Sheriff's Office hosted its annual 5K for the 7th year on Saturday. "Run with... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 11:25:00 AM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Two hair stylists at the downtown location of The Clip Joint have tested positive for COVID-19, KOMU 8... More >>
3 days ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 9:11:00 PM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
CENTRALIA – Corsages and boutonnieres filled Chance Gardens in Centralia as high school students lined up to take their prom... More >>
3 days ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 7:19:00 PM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY, Mo. -- The Camden County Health Department said Friday a Boone County resident who has tested positive for... More >>
3 days ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 6:08:00 PM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Love Coffee received a surprise $10,000 donation from the Veterans United Foundation on Tuesday. The nonprofit will use... More >>
3 days ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 4:37:00 PM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Mid-Missourians marched and held signs in Columbia on Friday morning to bring awareness to police brutality against African... More >>
3 days ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 1:52:00 PM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
CLARKSBURG, Mo. - Two people were arrested in Clarksburg, Mo., on drug charges after a search on May 21, according... More >>
3 days ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 1:32:00 PM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis officer who was seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed... More >>
3 days ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 12:46:00 PM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
O’FALLON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s only abortion clinic will be able to keep operating after a state government administrator decided... More >>
3 days ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 12:38:00 PM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri River is expected to reach moderate flood stage in Jefferson City, Glasgow and Hermann this weekend.... More >>
3 days ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 11:30:00 AM CDT May 29, 2020 in Weather
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. You can find... More >>
3 days ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 6:39:00 AM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- A student at the West Location of Tiger Tots Academy has tested positive for COVID-19. According to a... More >>
3 days ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 6:37:00 AM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – During his daily COVID-19 briefing Thursday, Governor Mike Parson announced an extension of the phase one reopening... More >>
4 days ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 8:42:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - As Boone County moves into the next phase of reopening, hair salons can now open their doors to... More >>
4 days ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 6:17:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The City Manager of Columbia announced plans to further cut city budgets due to the effects of COVID-19.... More >>
4 days ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 2:42:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. You can find... More >>
4 days ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 2:40:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 66°
5am 66°
6am 65°
7am 67°
8am 71°