Hurricane Michael leads to unimaginable destruction: 17 chilling photos

Most houses in the northern section of Mexico Beach, where the canal and marina start, aren't there anymore.

"It's like a bomb went off", Mr. Scott said as he toured the town of 1,000 people on the Gulf of Mexico.

Florida's governor is asking for a two week delay in a debate with the Democratic incumbent in the U.S. Senate race so he can focus on response and recovery from Hurricane Michael.

These aerial images from NOAA offer a stark look at how there's nothing left in some parts where houses once stood.

Cars, mattresses, grills and toilets were tossed all over town.

"I've lived here all my life and the storm brought things I've never seen", Lamonica said.

He described how homes "tumbled and crashed" on the beach.

The Talmadge Bridge on US 17 over the Savannah River between Savannah, Georgia and SC remains closed because of the threat of high winds on the suspension bridge.

She said it felt good to receive comfort, but was also hard.

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

When visibility returned, "we realized everything was gone", Boutwell said, including his neighbor's beach home and vehicle.

"We had another lady who was on her last tank of oxygen". An unknown number of people were still missing.

"We have nearly no lines of communication", says city manager of Panama City Beach Mario Gisbert, in an interview with NPR.

Senator Bill Nelson called the devastation "the worst destruction that the Panhandle has seen for however long that I've been living".

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Michael would dump as much as 20cm of rain in some areas.

Hurricane Michael will result in an insurance and reinsurance market loss of close to $8 billion from wind and storm surge, excluding NFIP losses, according to catastrophe risk modelling specialists Karen Clark & Co.

In Panama City, 20 miles northwest of Mexico Beach, buildings were crushed and boats were scattered around.

WDRB's Marc Weinberg and Travis Ragsdale were there when Michael made landfall with 155 miles per hour sustained winds. "That's her floor tile".

"It's just terrible to look at", Baldwin told viewers before her feed cut out.

On social media, folks who chose to withstand the storm captured heartbreaking images of the damage Michael wreaked on the towns and homes in its path.

Fema head Brock Long acknowledged that evacuation efforts in the area were slow compared with how fast the hurricane intensified. Water began pouring into her home, but thankfully her bedroom was spared and she retreated into it to spend the night. Hotels, especially those along the coast, sustained damage to windows, roofs, and other elements due to high winds. The docks are gone and several boats were capsized, including one belonging to her brother, she said. "We just didn't think it would be that bad". "So I followed the mandatory evacuation order and left with my wife". Some operate vacation home rentals, while others work jobs cleaning and maintaining the homes.

The company said that almost half of this total likely occurred in just two Florida counties which were exposed to the highest winds - Bay and Gulf. "Could be even years". But with cellphone service out across vast swaths of the Florida Panhandle, officials said it is possible that some of those unaccounted for are safe and just haven't been able to contact friends or family.

  • Leroy Wright