Hur­ri­cane death toll in Amer­ica rises to 13

The Daily Telegraph - - World News - By Har­riet Alexan­der

THE most pow­er­ful hur­ri­cane to hit the con­ti­nen­tal United States in more than 50 years all but wiped an en­tire town in Florida off the map, killing 13 as it surged in­land and caus­ing billions of dollars of dam­ages.

Hur­ri­cane Michael flat­tened Mex­ico Beach, a town of 2,000 peo­ple in the Florida “pan­han­dle” re­gion – rip­ping through the coastal com­mu­nity with 155mph winds and leav­ing houses en­tirely de­stroyed.

Tom Bai­ley, the town’s for­mer mayor, told The New York Times: “The mother of all bombs doesn’t do any more dam­age than this.”

Vast ar­eas of the re­gion re­mained with­out elec­tric­ity or mo­bile phone ser­vice and Rick Scott, gover­nor of Florida, said that state of­fi­cials still “do not know enough” about the fate of peo­ple who re­mained in the re­gion to ride out the storm.

Tyn­dall air force base, east of Panama City, “took a beat­ing”, the com­man­der of the fa­cil­ity said.

A fighter jet on dis­play was flipped up­side down, and the roofs of hangars were shorn off.

Col Brian Laid­law called the dam­age “catastrophic”.

Hav­ing made land­fall in Florida, the storm swept north through Alabama, Ge­or­gia and Vir­ginia, where seven peo­ple were yes­ter­day re­ported to have died.

They in­clude a man swept away from his ve­hi­cle in a flash flood and a fire­man killed re­spond­ing to an ac­ci­dent as the storm hit.

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