PANAMA CITY – Hurricane Michael claimed its first life after roaring ashore in Florida on Wednesday, flooding homes and streets and toppling trees and power lines in the Gulf of Mexico beachfront area where it made landfall as a raging Category 4 storm.
With huge winds at 250 kilometers per hour it has been the most powerful storm to hit the state’s northern Panhandle area in more than a century.
Michael was destructive, there were scenes of devastation, with houses floating in flooded streets, some ripped from their foundations and missing roofs, roads filled with piles of floating debris.
The area was battered for close to three hours by strong winds and heavy rains, roads in Panama City were literally impossible to pass through, as tress, satellite dishes and street lights covered the streets.
Briefing President Donald Trump at the White House, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) chief Brock Long said hurricane Michael was the most severe storm to strike the Florida Panhandle since 1851.
“Along our coast, communities are going to see unimaginable devastation,” Scott said, with storm surge posing the greatest danger.
“Water will come miles in shore and could easily rise over the roofs of houses,” he said.
“Those who stick around to experience storm surge don’t typically live to tell about it,” said FEMA’s Long.
During a rally on Wednesday night, Trump offered his “thoughts and prayers” to those in the path of the storm and said he would be visiting Florida soon.
“I’ll be traveling to Florida very, very shortly and I just want to wish them all the best. Godspeed,” Trump said.
Hundreds of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate their homes and the governor told residents who chose to stay behind to “hunker down and be careful.”
Photo credit-Aaj News and The Strait Times