MIAMI – Authorities haven’t seen the mass casualties they once feared from Hurricane Michael, but they expect the death toll to rise as search-and-rescue teams make their way through Florida neighbourhoods smashed to pieces . The storm also has brought flash flooding to hurricane-weary parts of the Carolinas and Virginia .
BY THE NUMBERS
— Hurricane history: first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Florida’s Panhandle since record-keeping began in 1851.
— Top winds: 155 mph (250 kph), strong enough to completely destroy homes and cause weeks-long power outages.
— Powerful pressure: 919 millibars minimum pressure in the eye, the third most intense hurricane landfall in the U.S. in recorded history.
— The human cost: Virginia had five storm-related deaths, including two people who were swept away from their vehicles by floodwaters; four people were killed in Gadsden County, Florida, near Tallahassee; three people died in North Carolina, one man from a falling tree and two others whose car smashed into a tree felled by the storm; and an 11-year-old girl in Seminole County, Georgia was killed when a carport blew through the roof of her grandparents’ home.
— Damage estimates: Boston-based Karen Clark & Company, a risk-modeling firm that produces models for catastrophes, is estimating Hurricane Michael caused about $8 billion in insured losses. It includes the privately insured wind and storm surge damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties and automobiles. The figure does not include losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program.
— The state of Florida says 3 million ready-to-eat meals, 2 million gallons of water and 2 million pounds of ice are being distributed in storm-impacted areas.
IMAGES of DESTRUCTION
Images captured by Associated Press journalists show the devastation left in Hurricane Michael’s wake.
NO NEED FOR MORGUE
The number of dead was expected to rise, but authorities scrapped plans for setting up a temporary morgue, indicating they had yet to see signs of mass casualties from the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in nearly 50 years.
DON’T RETURN YET
U.S. Federal Emergency Management Administrator Brock Long warned residents of the hardest hit area not to go back yet. He says it’s still too dangerous in Bay County, Florida, where the hurricane made landfall.
Michael left North Carolina and Virginia behind with rivers rising. Power outages were concentrated in central North Carolina’s Piedmont region, where motorists had to be rescued from cars trapped by high water. Similar scenes played out in parts of Virginia as the storm raced seaward.
President Donald Trump says he’ll visit Florida and Georgia early next week to assess damage from Hurricane Michael.
The commander of Tyndall Air Force Base says the “base took a beating” from Hurricane Michael and that he won’t ask its 3,600 airmen or their families to return until their safety is guaranteed. A special tactics team has cleared a runway at the base, allowing aircraft with supplies and food to land.
The Environmental Protection Agency says there were no reports of oil spills or other hazardous materials, as occurred during Hurricane Harvey last year in Houston and Hurricane Florence last month in the Carolinas. But boil water advisories are in effect in about eight locations impacted by Hurricane Michael.
OIL WORKERS RETURN
Oil and gas workers are returning to drilling rigs and production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, but production remains down by about one-third as operations are restarted.
‘SHE LIT UP EVERYTHING’
The parents of an 11-year-old Georgia girl who was killed after being hit in the head by a portable structure that crashed into her grandparents’ home say Sarah Radney “lit up everything.” Roy and Amber Rodney said their daughter loved to perform. The sixth-grader recently was in a school play and started playing trumpet in her school band.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has opened up the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee to state troopers on their way to areas hit hard by Hurricane Michael. Scott and first lady Ann Scott had dinner on Thursday with 50 troopers, 35 of whom slept in cots inside the mansion.
A Florida Senate debate between Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott has been postponed because of Hurricane Michael.
Broadcast news organizations faced challenges in getting reporters to Mexico Beach, the city hardest hit by the hurricane. Roads were impassable and some reporters had been pulled out of the town in advance of the storm because of safety fears.
This story has been corrected to reflect that Karen Clark & Company is a risk modeling firm, not an insurance company.
For the latest on Hurricane Michael, visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/Hurricanes