‘Unimag­in­able destruction’

At least 3 dead in storm’s wake as toll vis­i­ble: De­bris, 900,000 with­out power

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Jay Reeves and Bren­dan Far­ring­ton

PANAMA CITY — The dev­as­ta­tion in­flicted by Hur­ri­cane Michael came into fo­cus Thurs­day with row upon row of homes found smashed to pieces, and res­cue crews strug­gling to en­ter stricken ar­eas in hopes of ac­count­ing for hun­dreds of peo­ple who may have stayed be­hind.

At least three deaths — one each in Florida, Ge­or­gia and North Carolina — were blamed on Michael, the most pow­er­ful hur­ri­cane to hit the con­ti­nen­tal U.S. in decades, 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 clear blue sky, fam­i­lies liv­ing along the Florida Pan­han­dle emerged from shel­ters and ho­tels to a per­ilous land­scape of shat­tered homes and shop­ping cen­ters, wail­ing sirens and hov­er­ing he­li­copters.

Gov. Rick Scott said the Pan­han­dle awoke to “unimag­in­able destruction.”

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD/AP

The coastal town of Mex­ico Beach lies dev­as­tated af­ter Hur­ri­cane Michael made land­fall Wed­nes­day in the Florida Pan­han­dle as a Cat­e­gory 4 storm.

GERALD HERBERT/AP

A boat sits lodged in a home in Mex­ico Beach on Thurs­day. En­tire blocks of homes near the beach were oblit­er­ated.

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