People Are Missing From Florida Town Hit By Hurricane Michael

Fellow Republican and Florida Gov. Rick Scott is running for the Senate, partly at Trump's urging, and is in a close contest against Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson just weeks before Election Day.

Trump says "the job they've done is Florida has been incredible".

Trump said Monday that there are thousands of personnel now working to restore power to the area, but noted one issue is that many homes have been devastated beyond fix. It's gotten better since a year ago, even better, and I'm very, very tough on that.

"Everybody has been incredible: FEMA, first responders, everybody, law enforcement", Mr Trump said. "This was beyond any winds that they've seen". But the severity of the damage worsened significantly as Trump approached Mexico Beach, which was almost wiped off the map after taking a direct hit from the hurricane and its 155 miles per hour winds last week.

Florida Governor Rick Scott described Mexico Beach as looking like "a war zone".

The governor thanked Trump for federal aid, saying that everything the state asked for had been delivered.

Trump said: "What's the percentage?" There is something there. Trump was also surveying hurricane damage in Georgia before returning to the White House later Monday. "It has to be done and we're willing to do it", Kremeier said.

However, he noted that there had been violent hurricanes, causing widespread destruction, in the past.

The president observed some of the worst-hit areas during a helicopter tour, including homes that had been completely ripped from their foundations. "Who knows? That's what the numbers are".

Scott lauded Trump's response to the devastating storm.

He has even dismissed global pushes to reduce greenhouse gases as a hoax invented by rival China to cripple United States industrial might.

Many did not evacuate in places like Mexico Beach in the days before the storm, and Hurricane Michael rapidly intensified to Category 4 the night before it made landfall, leaving little time for those residents to change plans.

As of Sunday evening, as many as 183,000 Floridians remained without power.

George Ruiz, a former Coast Guard rescue boat driver from Alabama who runs Geaux Rescue, a nonprofit search-and-rescue operation, said rescue efforts were hamstrung because authorities aren't allowing volunteer groups into hard-hit Mexico Beach and Panama City.

The powerful storm sounded like a freight train when it barreled into nearby Panama City, said resident Jackie Lane, who was overcome with emotion recalling her experience to ABC News on Monday. "I'm just happy that everybody is safe and sound and, hopefully, soon we will all get through this together and recover from this storm".

"If we lose only one life, to me that's going to be a miracle", Mexico Beach Mayor Al Cathey told Florida media.

Trump also saw the heavy damage inflicted on Tyndall Air Force Base.

The unit cost of the aircraft is around US$150 million (S$206 million), which soars to over US$330 million when research and development are priced in. "It could be in the outlying areas, a month, month-in-a-half before some of them are getting electricity", Nelson said.

  • Carolyn Briggs