Deal­ing with the af­ter­math

Grim search through ru­ined land­scape af­ter Michael

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - WORLD -

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 (965 kilo­me­tres) from where Hur­ri­cane Michael made land­fall.

Michael, so pow­er­ful that it re­mained a hur­ri­cane for 12 hours af­ter mak­ing land­fall in Mex­ico Beach, thrashed the Caroli­nas and Vir­ginia and was grow­ing stronger again over the At­lantic, where the Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter pre­dicted it would even­tu­ally me­nace Bri­tain with trop­i­cal-storm force winds.

Au­thor­i­ties re­ported 11 deaths as of Fri­day, with Vir­ginia’s state med­i­cal ex­am­iner rul­ing four drown­ings and the firefighter’s death were storm-re­lated. High winds, downed trees, streets in­un­dated by ris­ing wa­ters and mul­ti­ple res­cues of mo­torists from wa­ter­logged cars played out in spots around Vir­ginia and neigh­bour­ing North Carolina.

Linda Mar­quardt and her hus­band some­how sur­vived the very worst of it in Mex­ico Beach, where Hur­ri­cane Michael’s eye passed di­rectly over their home.

Surg­ing wa­ter filled their first floor, now muddy and ru­ined. They’re sur­rounded now by dev­as­ta­tion: fishing boats and cars tossed like toys, empty slabs where peo­ple hope­fully es­caped be­fore houses ex­ploded in 155 mph (249 kph) winds and were washed away by the storm surge.

Row af­ter row of beach­front homes were oblit­er­ated by the epic Cat­e­gory 4 hur­ri­cane. The de­struc­tion along Florida’s white-sand northern Gulf Coast was called catastrophic. Of­fi­cials pre­dicted re­build­ing costs in the billions.

“All of my fur­ni­ture was float­ing,” said Mar­quardt, 67. “A river just started com­ing down the road. It was aw­ful, and now there’s just noth­ing left.”

All told, more than 900,000 homes and busi­nesses in Florida, Alabama, Ge­or­gia and the Caroli­nas were with­out power.

Thou­sands of Na­tional Guard troops, law en­force­ment of­fi­cers and res­cue teams still had much to do in the hard­est hit area: Florida’s Pan­han­dle. Fam­i­lies liv­ing along the Pan­han­dle are now faced with a strug­gle to sur­vive in a per­ilous land­scape of shat­tered homes and shop­ping cen­tres, the storm de­bris spread far and wide.

Most of Panama City’s homes were still stand­ing, but no prop­erty was left un­dam­aged. Downed power lines and twisted street signs lay all around. Alu­minum sid­ing was shred­ded and homes were split by fallen trees. Hun­dreds of cars had bro­ken win­dows. Pa­tients were moved out of hur­ri­cane dam­aged hos­pi­tals and nurs­ing homes.

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