Hurricane Apocalypse in Florida: Lives Lost, Homes Gone, American Catastrophe
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Monster Hurricane Michael has now moved out into the Atlantic, but it left behind devastation of catastrophic proportions.
Lives have been shattered, families have lost loved ones, thousands of homes are destroyed, and hundreds of thousands of other Americans remain without electricity.
Many people who evacuated the Florida Panhandle now have nowhere to work or live.
After Michael passed, video drones took the skies over Panama City revealing the extent of the damage. Mexico Beach, once a pristine and popular detsination is now wiped out--as if a bomb went off.
But the devastation was not man-made. It was a powerful explosion of nature, one of the most powerful hurricanes on record.
Michael came ashore 20-miles southeast of Panama City, with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour and a massive storm surge--catastrophic sea waves of 13 feet.
By Friday morning, at least 11 people were dead, entire neighborhoods and beaches had disappeared.
"So many lives have been changed forever. So many families have lost everything. Homes are gone, businesses are gone," said Florida Governor Rick Scott.
Department of Defense helicopter teams stepped in to conduct daring night time rescues of some people needing emergency evacuation.
And at daylight, search and rescue teams went door to door looking for people who may still be trapped inside their homes.
FEMA administrator Brock Long said, "Mexico Beach took the brunt. That's probably ground zero."
The hurricane ripped the roofs off hotels and homes, shredding vinyl siding, and scattering wood structures like toothpicks.
One woman said her family hid in a closet, "All we heard was a lot of wind. I thought the roof was going to come off."
A woman identifying herself as Talia said she and her husband were nearly swept away by winds and storm surge. "We let the current take us to the next stop and then we'd grab on to a tree."
Michael moved quickly through Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia and then out to sea. Floodwaters surged through the Carolinas, still drenched from Hurricane Florence. Downed trees and gale-force winds knocked power out to 900,000 homes and businesses.
One Virginia woman attempted to drive through rising floodwaters.
"I was sinkin', sinkin' fast...when I turned I immediately started sinkin' and I knew that I had hit the ditch and I put it in reverse and of course, it didnt go anywhere. I just thank God my kids and my grandkids were not in the car."
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