Storm Michael: 155mph winds leave trail of devastation

It's Day 2 after Hurricane Michael made landfall, and search and rescue is still under way, state emergency officials said Friday morning - as more emphasis is beginning to shift to the "search".

Here's how the storm affected Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia.

At least two people have been killed including an 11-year-old child in Seminole County, Georgia, who died after a tree fell on her home. Video from a drone revealed widespread devastation across the town of about 1,000 people.

Bay County officials have previously said 56 people chose to stay in their homes in Mexico Beach and that search and rescue teams were trying to account for those people. "That is some good news, but for those half-million people that don't have power, we understand the frustration and we're doing everything we can".

Other people were pulled to safety from wrecks and flash floods across the Carolinas and Virginia as tropical-storm force winds downed trees and power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands without power. Some residents with destroyed or damaged homes counted themselves lucky to have survived.

In one community, Panama City, most homes were still standing, but no property was left undamaged. Officials said more than 400,000 homes and businesses were without electricity and 20,000 utility workers had been deployed to restore power.

In Mexico Beach, a seafront town where the hurricane made landfall, houses had been razed by storm surge, boats had been tossed into yards and the streets were littered with trees and power lines.

Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Mexico Beach was "ground zero" for damage. "It was the most handsome, secret location you could have for a vacation".

Megan McCall says her brother Jeff and his family were riding out the storm in the Panhandle.

Entire blocks of homes near the beach were obliterated, reduced to nothing but concrete slabs in the sand. "It's like a war zone".

How high it might go was unclear.

"We were going to establish a mortuary location".

Brad Rippey, a meteorologist for the United States agriculture department, said Michael severely damaged cotton, timber, pecan and peanut crops, causing estimated liabilities as high as $1.9bn and affecting up to 3.7m crop acres (1.5m hectares).

"It's hard to grasp", he said.

The National Hurricane Center defines rapid intensification as a gain of at least 30 knots - or about 35 mph - in wind speed over a 24-hour period. As it kept gaining strength, hurricane forecasters said, it "defies traditional logic".

The base was evacuated ahead of the hurricane and the costly fighter planes were flown to other installations out of the path of the storm. "All major roadways are passable", the city said, adding that 83 percent of its traffic signals were operating normally.

Specifically, the SMP ad charges that Scott cut the state's education budget by $1.3 billion, and also cut taxes for corporations, while also seeing his own wealth grow, implying that he moved that money from education to tax cuts that benefitted himself.

"It was very interesting because when the roof blew off after we had only been there an hour, there was a tremendous noise and you could tell something very bad had happened", said Gerrie Barr. "You can not tell where he stopped harvest and where the rest of it was being harvested by the storm".

As Michael plows northward up the Atlantic seaboard, the governors of North and SC urged residents to brace for more heavy rain and storm-force winds.

"You can't make sense of it, but what you do is you take the situation, and what we have to make certain that our kids know is that we must be resilient", Smith said.

Of the five deaths in Virginia, four were from drowning, according to member station WVTF.

Among those killed was a firefighter in Hanover County, Virginia, who was hit by a tractor-trailer while assisting with another accident on Interstate 295.

Virginia declared a state of emergency in advance of the storm.

At 11.00pm Eastern time (0300 GMT), Michael was close to moving away from the coast of Virgina out over the Atlantic and becoming a post-tropical low, the National Hurricane Center said.

Vanessa Coleman

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