Hurricane Michael, a storm that quickly grew into a Category 4 Hurricane by the time it reached Florida, caused massive devastation across several states. The storm has moved out to sea.
Over 1 million people are believed to lack electricity as of Friday morning (10/12/2018).
Reports are that at least six people have died – four in Florida, one in Georgia, and one in North Carolina. Though reports from local law enforcement in Panama City and Mexico Beach in Florida are that the devastation is so severe it is impossible to know if anyone is missing, or if there are additional fatalities.
The force of the storm’s wind ripped roofs from houses and even knocked houses off their foundations. Fallen trees also destroyed homes and cars. The combination of wind, rain, and ocean storm surge sank numerous boats in many Florida communities.
Other states such as George, South Carolina, North Carolina, and parts of southern and central Virginia experienced flooding. Some communities in those states reported losing power.
DISCUSS IN THE FORUM: Disaster recovery efforts are underway in the states impacted by Hurricane Michael. We have created a Forum dedicated to Disaster Recovery, with questions and sections for recent natural disasters, such as Hurricane Michael. If you have information on how people and businesses can help those need, or other questions or comments relating to disaster recovery, please share them. Click here to discuss.
Here is what you need to know:
People need to exercise extreme caution: Though the storm has passed by and is now in the Atlantic Ocean, there are still many dangers people need to be aware of:
- For example, power is out in many areas. However, there also are downed power lines that may be active. Do not assume that a power line is safe to handle.
- Water is likely contaminated with chemicals and/or different types of bacteria. People need to make sure they drink only bottled water.
- Gas lines may be punctured and leaking. People need to take precautions, especially if their homes have sustained heavy damage.
- If you decide to remove debris, you should be very careful. You need to be aware of animals that are trapped or hiding – not just broken glass, metal, wood, and wires. Snakes, for example, could be trapped in some of the debris.
- Looting has been reported in different communities. Stay away from retail stores and other areas, as there may be increased National Guard and police presence. People are cautioned about filming or confronting looters. Overall, law enforcement asks people not to take risks or put their lives or the lives of family members in danger.
- Travel is not yet advised for people in many of the hardest hit areas. Roads need to be cleared of trees, telephone polls, cars, buildings, and other debris. If you do travel, you could be putting yourself at risk.
Federal disaster designation from President Trump: The President approved a declaration of a major disaster, which will allow state and local authorities to receive federal funding and other aid for their response efforts.
Poultry industry impacted: Hurricane Michael caused damage to the poultry industry in Georgia. Over 80 chicken houses, holding approximately 2 million chickens were destroyed. The poultry industry for Georgia is a $23 billion a year industry.
Preliminary insurance estimate is at $8 billion: Karen Clark & Company, a Boston, Massachusetts based insurance company, estimates Hurricane Michael will cost about $8 billion in insured losses. However, there will be additional losses not covered by insurance – such as losses caused by storm surge.
Storm was 4th most powerful (in terms of wind): With wind reaching 155 mph (250 kph), Hurricane Michael was the 4th most powerful storm to make landfall in the U.S., and third most powerful in terms of pressure (919 mb). The storm surge was 9 feet (2.7 meters).
Electric grid in parts of Florida totally destroyed: There were early estimates that it could take several days for crews to even begin working to restore power. This means that people could be without electricity for weeks.
Quotes of Note:
“We’re broken here. This devastation is beyond. I think it’s sort of obvious we need some help.”
– Al Cathey, Mayor of Mexico Beach, in a comment to the Tampa Bay Times
“It’s hard to convey in words the scale of the catastrophe in Panama City. The whole city looks like a nuke was dropped on it. I’m literally shocked at the scale of the destruction.”
– Josh Morgerman, Storm Chaster
“It was terrifying, honestly. There was a lot of noise. We thought the windows were going to break at any time. We had the inside windows kind of barricaded in with mattresses,” Vance Beu, 29, staying in Panama City with his mother
“It’s absolutely horrendous. Catastrophic. There’s flooding. Boats on the highway. A house on the highway. Houses that have been there forever are just shattered.” – Sally Crown, resident of Apalachicola, Florida. She stayed during the storm, and commented after surveying the damage.
View Before and After Pictures of Mexico Beach, Florida