Three days after Hurricane Michael’s devastating strike, search teams in Florida pressed their hunt for victims into hard-to-reach areas Saturday, as the death toll rose to 17 and officials scrambled to deliver aid to those who lost everything.
Michael was one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever make landfall in the U.S. While most residents fled ahead of the storm’s arrival, others stayed to face the hurricane.
Craig Fugate, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a former emergency management chief for the state of Florida, said “this is what we expect with storm surge and high wind events”. Says Long: “We still haven’t gotten into the hardest-hit areas”.
Aerial footage shows coastal cities in the Panhandle heavily destroyed.
Marchetti said the search teams, made up mostly of off-duty police and firefighters, also had either rescued or accounted for 345 other individuals reported to Houston-based CrowdSource Rescue.
Michael was one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever hit the USA and this Gulf Coast community was in its bullseye. It pushed a wall of seawater inland, causing widespread flooding.
The push worked as Citizens’ footprint has shrunk by 72 percent, but remains the state’s second-largest property insurer with about 420,000 policies – majority in South Florida, far from Michael’s damage zone.
Electricity and phone service were being slowly restored, but it could be weeks before power is restored to the most damaged areas. About 40 Army officers were sent to clear roads near the small beach town of Alligator Point. “Some have evacuated, and we have been messaging back and forth with OnStar (the car-based emergency communication and navigation system)”.
Katrina Pearsey, 46, said she wasn’t willing to wait to see if the government would help them out. “All these electrical poles and water lines are busted”. “Just cleaning the yard”, Katia Coonan said. So he stashed them in a closet before heading to his daughter’s new two-story home.
So far, a total of eight have died in Florida, five in Virginia, three in North Carolina, and one in Georgia.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said the storm had caused “unbelievable devastation” and the priority for the moment was looking for survivors among residents who failed to heed orders to evacuate.
The number of crews available immediately following Michael, were equal to the height of the restoration following Hermine in 2016, which knocked out power for a week or more in some parts of the city. The Richmond and Norfolk areas were the worst impacted by the storm, with the highest numbers of customers still in the dark. “I will not recall you and your families until we can guarantee your safety”, Colonel Brian Laidlaw said in a statement. “If we’re going to rebuild, do it right”. Trees even in Ghent were taken down by winds brought on by Michael’s exit into the Atlantic Ocean.
“This will be the second time in just over a year that we have responded to an emergency in the state, after Hurricane Irma hit last September”, said IsraAID co-CEOs Yotam Polizer and Navonel Glick. The Coast Guard reported rescuing 129 people.
“We still have flooding, downed trees, closed roads and a lot of debris”, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said at a news conference Friday afternoon.