Before-and-after images capture catastrophic destruction of Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida
By Carolyn Sistrand, AccuWeather staff writer
October 13, 2018, 1:25:16 PM EDT
After Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, vacated coastal towns looked post-apocalyptic due to the sheer magnitude of the damage, as captured in aerial views by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Michael is the third strongest hurricane to make landfall in the United States, with a barometric pressure of 27.13 inches of mercury (919 mb). Michael was stronger than both hurricanes Katrina and Andrew, only falling short of records set by the 1935 Labor Day hurricane and Hurricane Camille in 1969.
“We are working as quickly as possible so that you can return, check on your things and begin the recovery process. Keep listening to local officials for guidance. Right now, the top priority is making sure that things are safe,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said on Twitter Friday.
Many roads remain closed as trees, telephone lines and flood waters make travel nearly impossible. Most people across Florida's Panhandle, and those who were in the hurricane's path, are still without power.
Mexico Beach, Florida, was one of the places hit hardest. Residents have not received word of if and when they may return home.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that about 1,200 people live in Mexico Beach year round and approximately 280 stayed behind during the storm.
Residents wanting to return are being urged to stay off the roads still. Many major and local roads remain closed as trees, telephone lines and floodwaters make travel nearly impossible.
Most people who did not leave home during the storm are still without power as of Friday.
Most homes have been destroyed, and those that stand pose major safety concerns. Some neighborhoods have been completely wiped out.
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Torn roofs and debris sent flying by Michael's winds
AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer reported from Mexico Beach that homes were ripped from their foundation or were missing from their stilt foundation when the hurricane hit the coastal community.
The Florida Department of Transportation and other emergency services are on the ground in Mexico Beach and other affected areas assessing damage and beginning the clean-up and repair process.
Utility crews are, also, in the processes of restoring power.
Rick Scott tweeted Friday that half a million gallons of fuel will be distributed to aid crews in the power restoration process. Scott adds that "a large-scale power restoration expert has been deployed to the State Emergency Opertions Center" to provide push crews to assist utility workers and that 50 Florida Power and Light workers have arrived in the affected areas to focus mainly on the safe clearing and removal of downed power lines.
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