Hurricane death toll in America rises to 13
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.