Hur­ri­cane leaves ‘unimag­in­able de­struc­tion’

Rotorua Daily Post - - OUR PEOPLE - USA

The dev­as­ta­tion in­flicted by Hur­ri­cane Michael came into fo­cus yes­ter­day with rows upon rows of homes found smashed to pieces, and res­cue crews be­gan mak­ing their way into the stricken ar­eas in hopes of ac­count­ing for hun­dreds of peo­ple who may have stayed be­hind.

At least six deaths were blamed on Michael, the most pow­er­ful hur­ri­cane to hit the con­ti­nen­tal US in more than 50 years, and it wasn’t done yet. Though re­duced to a trop­i­cal storm, it brought flash flood­ing to North Carolina and Vir­ginia, soak­ing ar­eas still re­cov­er­ing from Hur­ri­cane Florence.

Un­der a per­fectly clear blue sky, fam­i­lies liv­ing along the Flor­ida Pan­han­dle emerged from dark­ened shel­ters and ho­tels to a per­ilous land­scape of shat­tered homes and shop­ping cen­ters, beep­ing se­cu­rity alarms, wail­ing sirens and hov­er­ing he­li­copters.

Gov­er­nor Rick Scott said the Pan­han­dle woke up to “unimag­in­able de­struc­tion”.

“So many lives have been changed for­ever. So many fam­i­lies have lost ev­ery­thing,” he said.

The full ex­tent of Michael’s fury was only slowly be­com­ing clear, with some of the hard­est-hit ar­eas dif­fi­cult to reach be­cause of roads blocked by de­bris or wa­ter.

Some of the worst dam­age was in Mex­ico Beach, where the hur­ri­cane crashed ashore as a Cat­e­gory 4 mon­ster with 250km/h winds and a storm surge of 2.7m.

En­tire blocks of homes near the beach were oblit­er­ated, re­duced to noth­ing but con­crete slabs in the sand. Rows and rows of other homes were turned into piles of splin­tered lum­ber or were crum­pled and slumped at odd an­gles.

En­tire roofs were torn away and dropped onto a road.

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

The Coast Guard said it res­cued at least 27 peo­ple be­fore and af­ter the hur­ri­cane came ashore, mostly from homes along the Flor­ida coast­line, and searched for more vic­tims.

PHOTO / AP

Lee Cathey, 37, Al Cathey, 71, and Charles Smith, 56, sur­vey dam­age in the coastal town­ship of Mex­ico Beach.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.