Hurricane Michael ravages rows of Florida beach homes

Rescuers will pick through the damage of otherwise thriving beach communities searching for survivors on Friday after Hurricane Michael, one of the most powerful storms in US history, slammed into the Florida Panhandle, killing at least seven people.

Blocks and blocks of homes were demolished, reduced to splintered lumber or mere concrete slabs by the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental almost 50 years. "Non-tropical high wind watches, warnings, and advisories have been issued by local NWS offices for wind hazards in these areas north of Duck, North Carolina". Around the same time, Virginia's emergency agency said more than 446,000 customers had no electricity.

Seven of the deaths were in Virginia, which Gov. Ralph Northam declared a disaster area before the storm hit.

Pecan, cotton, and peanut harvests were at risk as the risky storm plowed its way through Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas. 5 confirmed Michael-related fatalities.

While a Florida military base in the hurricane's trajectory was evacuated and its planes flown hundreds of miles away, prisoners were not evacuated, and numerous region's poor people found they had nowhere to go until it was too late to get out.

All told, more than 900,000 homes and businesses in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas were without power. "I've got two trees on the roof and a couple of holes on the roof".

"I've never seen anything like this craziness", said Tamara's Cafe owner Danny Itzkovitz, 54, as he was busy grilling burgers. "Can't tell the difference between what I've picked and what I haven't".

Fabian spoke to a woman inside the house at the time, who said it's a "miracle" she survived.

Sarah had just started the sixth grade and joined the drama club and the band.

Aluminium siding was shredded and homes were split by fallen trees.

Three others died in Gadsden County, Hightower said.

In North Carolina, a 38-year-old man was killed Thursday afternoon shortly before 1pm in Iredell County, north of Charlotte, when a tree fell on the vehicle he was driving, according to David Souther, the county's fire marshal. Authorities were also searching for a boy swept away by a river in Guatemala.

Contributors in Florida include Associated Press writers Jay Reeves in Panama City, Brendan Farrington in St. Marks, Gary Fineout in Tallahassee, Tamara Lush in St. Petersburg, Terry Spencer in Fort Lauderdale, and Jennifer Kay and Freida Frisaro in Miami.

A few days ago, they were living in their dream home at Shell Point Beach.

"Don't think that you can ride this out if you're in a low-lying area", Nelson said on CNN. "It's just stuff we can replace".

In Panama City, home to about 38,000 people, Michael's fury was evident, with trees snapped in half and roofs ripped off buildings. Despite the destruction, the Rev. Luke Farabaugh and his congregation celebrated Mass on Thursday. "We've been writing things down on pieces of paper".

"We prepare for the worst and hope for the best". "Our reward isn't just in this life but in the life to come".

"We have thousands of people lined up".

Becky Daniel and her wife Monica Barber pulled up to the scattered remains of their demolished gulf-front home off near Mexico Beach. Search and rescue teams are still working in areas across the Florida Panhandle to reach people who are trapped. "Someone told me, 'Mexico Beach is gone'".

At least three deaths were blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental United States in over 50 years, and it wasn't done yet: Though reduced to a tropical storm, it brought flash flooding to North Carolina and Virginia, soaking areas still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

Hundreds of residents were rescued Thursday from cars, apartments and homes flooded by rushing water.

Sharon Black, who lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, anxious that Michael's winds would blow away debris still piled up on front lawns from Florence.

  • Carolyn Briggs