Ten­sions run high in storm’s wake

Searches in­ten­sify af­ter body found in Michael’s af­ter­math

Toronto Sun - - NEWS -

MEX­ICO BEACH, Fla. — Res­cuers in­ten­si­fied ef­forts Satur­day to find sur­vivors who might be trapped amid the ru­ins of a small Florida Pan­han­dle com­mu­nity nearly oblit­er­ated by Hur­ri­cane Michael, where one body has al­ready been re­cov­ered, tem­pers are flar­ing, and power could be out for weeks.

Crews with dogs went door-to-door in Mex­ico Beach, push­ing aside de­bris to get in­side badly dam­aged struc­tures in a sec­ond wave of searches fol­low­ing what they de­scribed as an ini­tial, “hasty” search of the area.

About 1,700 search-an­dres­cue per­son­nel have checked 25,000 homes, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said.

Au­thor­i­ties say there is lit­tle doubt the death toll will rise from the storm, which made land­fall Wed­nes­day as a Cat­e­gory 4 hur­ri­cane with 249 km/h winds and heavy storm surge. The tally of lives lost across the South stood at 14, in­clud­ing the vic­tim found in the rub­ble of Mex­ico Beach, where about 1,000 peo­ple live.

“Ev­ery­thing is time-con­sum­ing,” said Capt. Ig­natius Car­roll, of the South Florida Ur­ban Search and Res­cue task force. “You don’t want to put a rush on a thor­ough res­cue.”

More roads were pass­able along the storm-rav­aged coast as crews cleared downed trees and power lines, but traf­fic lights re­mained out and long lines height­ened ten­sions at one of the area’s few open gas sta­tions.

“I want you to get back in your ve­hi­cle and stop!” one woman shouted at a man ac­cost­ing her as she tried to squeeze her car be­tween two idling ve­hi­cles at a Panama City ser­vice sta­tion run­ning two fuel pumps on a gen­er­a­tor.

“You’re an id­iot!” the man shouted back.

About 4,000 mem­bers of Florida’s na­tional guard have been called up to deal with the storm, in­clud­ing 500 added Satur­day.

DAVID GOLD­MAN/AP (IN­SET: JOE RAEDLE/GETTY IM­AGES)

A woman calms tem­pers be­tween mo­torists as they wait for gas dur­ing a short­age in South­port, Fla., yes­ter­day. In­set, Hur­ri­cane Michael scav­engers in Panama City can con­sider them­selves warned.

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