Survivors describe the ‘utter devastation’ of Hurricane Michael
A family who survived Hurricane Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental US in over 50 years, have described the “utter devastation” in their Florida community.
Linda Marquardt rode out Hurricane Michael with her husband at their home in Mexico Beach. When their house filled with surging ocean water, they fled upstairs.
“All of my furniture was floating,” said Ms Marquardt, 67. “`A river just started coming down the road. It was awful, and now there’s just nothing left.”
Thousands of National Guard troops, law enforcement officers and rescue teams still had much to do in the Florida’s Panhandle, the hardest hit area. Families living along the Panhandle are now faced with a struggle to survive in a perilous landscape of shattered homes and shopping centres, the storm debris spread far and wide. Row after row of beach front homes were so obliterated by Michael’s surging seas and howling winds that only slabs of concrete in the sand remain; this was ground zero when the Category 4 hurricane slammed ashore at midweek. The destruction in this and other communities dotting the white-sand beaches is being called catastrophic - and it will need billions of dollars to rebuild.
At least eleven deaths were blamed on Michael and by early yesterday it wasn’t over yet: a tropical storm long after Wednesday’s landfall, Michael continued pummelling the Southeast, dumping heavy rains and spreading flash flooding misery as far away as Virginia.
High winds, downed trees, streets inundated by rising waters and multiple rescues of motorists from waterlogged carsplayedoutinspotsaround Virginia and neighbouring North Carolina. Forecasters said Michael would intensify with gale force winds once it starts cross out into the Atlantic.
Michael was deadly, both in Florida and beyond.
An 11-year-old girl in Georgia died when Michael’s winds picked up a carport and dropped it through the roof of her grandparents’ home. A driver in North Carolina was killed when a tree fell on his car. Then, as Michael blew through Virginia as a tropical storm, authorities said five people there were killed, including four who drowned and a firefighter whose truck was struck by a tractor-trailer as he responded to an accident in heavy storm conditions.
Some fear the toll can only rise as rescue teams get around storm debris blocking roads and reach isolated areas.
More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were ordered or urged to clear out as Michael closed in.
Worshippers attend the Evening Divine Office service at the Refectory Church of Sts. Anthony and Theodosius at the Kyiv-pechersk Lavra last night in Kiev, Ukraine. The leadership of the Orthodox Church announced yesterday that it is willing to support autonomy for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is currently split between two officially unrecognized branches and one official branch that is ruled from Moscow.