Storm leaves US Pan­han­dle reel­ing

Taranaki Daily News - - News -

Pow­er­ful Hur­ri­cane Michael slammed into the Florida Pan­han­dle with ter­ri­fy­ing winds of 250kmh yes­ter­day, splin­ter­ing homes and sub­merg­ing neigh­bour­hoods be­fore con­tin­u­ing its de­struc­tive march in­land across the South­east.

It was the most pow­er­ful hur­ri­cane to hit the con­ti­nen­tal U.S. in nearly 50 years and at least one death was re­ported dur­ing its pas­sage.

Su­per­charged by ab­nor­mally warm wa­ters of the Gulf of Mex­ico, the Cat­e­gory 4 storm crashed ashore in the early af­ter­noon near Mex­ico Beach, a tourist town about mid­way along the Pan­han­dle, a 320km stretch of white-sand beach re­sorts, fish­ing towns and mil­i­tary bases. After it rav­aged the Pan­han­dle, Michael en­tered south Ge­or­gia as a Cat­e­gory 3 hur­ri­cane – the most pow­er­ful in recorded his­tory for that part of the neigh­bour­ing state.

In north Florida, Michael bat­tered the shore­line with side­ways rain, pow­er­ful gusts and crash­ing waves, swamp­ing streets and docks, flat­ten­ing trees, stripped away leaves, shred­ding awnings and peel­ing away shin­gles. It also set off trans­former ex­plo­sions and knocked out power to more than 388,000 homes and busi­nesses.

A Pan­han­dle man was killed by a tree top­pling on a home, Gads­den County Sher­iff’s Of­fice spokes­woman Anglie Hightower said. She said au­thor­i­ties got a call that the man was trapped but res­cue crews were ham­pered by downed trees and de­bris block­ing road­ways. Au­thor­i­ties haven’t yet con­firmed the man’s name.

Dam­age in Panama City was ex­ten­sive, with bro­ken and up­rooted trees and power lines down nearly ev­ery­where. Roofs were peeled off and homes split open by fallen trees. Twisted street signs lay on the ground. Res­i­dents emerged in the early evening to as­sess dam­age when rains stopped, though skies were still over­cast and windy.

Vance Beu, 29, was stay­ing with his mother at her apart­ment, Spring Gate Apart­ments, a small com­plex of sin­gle-story wood frame apart­ment build­ings. A pine tree punched a hole in their roof and he said the roar of the storm sounded like a jet en­gine as the winds ac­cel­er­ated. Their ears even popped as the baro­met­ric pres­sure dropped.

‘‘It was ter­ri­fy­ing, hon­estly. There was a lot of noise. We thought the win­dows were go­ing to break at any time. We had the in­side win­dows kind of bar­ri­caded in with mat­tresses,’’ Beu said. –AP

Ha­ley Nel­son in­spects dam­ages to her fam­ily prop­er­ties in Panama City, Florida, after Hur­ri­cane Michael made land­fall in Florida’s Pan­han­dle yes­ter­day.

Sunken and dam­aged boats bump in the high seas at the Port St Joe Ma­rina after Hur­ri­cane Michael struck yes­ter­day.

Emily Hin­dle lies on the floor at an evac­u­a­tion shel­ter set up at Ruther­ford High School, Panama City Beach, in ad­vance of Hur­ri­cane Michael.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.