Searchers find bodies in hurricane-stricken town

Doug Carpenter
October 13, 2018

Michael slammed North Florida with 155 miles per hour winds — just shy of Category 5 strength — sent up to 10 feet of storm surge into coastal areas and damaged and demolished homes and businesses across the Panhandle.

"Hurricane Michael arrived before most of the state farmers had started harvest for the season - specifically for pecans, peanuts and cotton", Tasnim Shamma reports from Atlanta member station WABE, for NPR's Newscast unit.

By early Friday it wasn't almost over yet: a tropical storm long after Wednesday's landfall, Michael stubbornly kept up its punch while barreling over land toward an expected exit across the open Atlantic.

Entire beaches are gone, swallowed by the Gulf of Mexico.

Search and rescue teams looked for bodies through a ruined landscape of smashed homes and piles of sand Friday, while more deaths were reported in Virginia, 600 miles from where Hurricane Michael made landfall.

Marshall Shepherd, a former president of the American Meteorological Society, called Michael a "life-altering event", writing on social media that he watched the storm's growth on satellite images with a pit in his stomach.

"If something happens to" people trying to cross the bridge, "they're on their own", Brownell said. "We have done everything we can as far as getting the word out", Smith said. With trees down, and power and cell service out, he could not safely evacuate.

While Florence took five days between the time it turned into a hurricane and the moment it rolled into the Carolinas, Michael gave Florida what amounted to two days' notice.

Alongside overwhelming winds, Michael is expected to tip down inches of rain throughout Florida and other nearby states.

And unless the rate of greenhouse gas emissions changes, hurricanes are expected to intensify more rapidly in the coming decades, the scientific research group Climate Central said.

"If you decide to stay in your home and a tree falls on your house or the storm surge catches you and you're now calling for help, there's no one that can respond to help you", Mr Morgan said at a news conference.

Rebecca McAuliffe said: "You can't even recognize some of the areas in town".

But some officials were anxious by what they weren't seeing - a rush of evacuees. It also set off transformer explosions and knocked out power to more than 190,000 homes and businesses."We are catching some hell", said Timothy Thomas, who rode out the storm with his wife in their second-floor apartment in Panama City Beach. She worked all night stocking shelves at a big-box store that was closing later Tuesday, then got to work securing her yard. Those who surveyed the damage to the towns in Michael's path said the destruction appeared to them to be more like that from a tornado, as building after building had been flattened. "We still haven't gotten into some of the hardest-hit areas". "We are still getting down there", the governor added.

In the dangerously exposed coastal town of Apalachicola, population 2,500, Sally Crown planned to go home and hunker down with her two dogs. "We're starting from scratch, all of us", Plushnik said. "But in my experience, it's always blown way out of proportion". The diocesan pastoral center in Pensacola was accepting these items through October 15, while St. Mary Church in Fort Walton Beach was conducting a weekend collection for those items October 13-14.

Oil traders are advised to keep an eye on the storm updates as the undergoing the hurricane season and last year, with hurricane Harvey taking down most of the refining capacity in the Gulf of Mexico last year or one-fifth of national refining capacity, we have seen the impact on Gasoline price, which sharply shot up.

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