Hurricane Michael’s path of power outages seen by satellite

Jim Bob looks at the destruction caused by Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach Florida

For these hard-hit places, Michael - which came ashore as a Category 4 storm with 155 miles per hour winds that made it one of the strongest to make landfall in the Gulf in a century - will leave a long-lasting mark.

Residents of Mexico Beach had been under a mandatory evacuation order, but it is believed at least 285 people among a population of 1,000 had stayed behind to ride out the storm.

The storm, one of the most powerful hurricanes in USA history, continued to cut a destructive path as a tropical storm, having weakened after lashing Georgia and North Carolina. "We have to wait for our assessment to be completed before we can say how many are missing", said Uganda Red Cross spokeswoman Irene Nakasiita.

Mcdonald's signage stands damaged from Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach, Florida, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

The IRS said Friday it's offering relief "to any Major Disaster Declaration area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as qualifying for either individual or public assistance".

Beyond lives and homes, the storm seized community hubs, like two oak trees long used as a place to gather and talk in Greensboro, a small town in Gadsden County, Florida. "We still haven't gotten into some of the hardest-hit areas".

Emergency officials said they had done an initial "hasty search" of 80% of the stricken area, looking for the living or the dead.

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The scope of the devastation brought by Hurricane Michael came into sobering focus on Thursday as rescue workers searched a ruined landscape of splintered homes, toppled trees and upended vehicles that stretched across much of the Florida Panhandle.

About 5,000 United States servicemen were deployed to help with relief and recovery efforts, the Pentagon said, using 100 helicopters and 1,800 high-water vehicles.

Across the ravaged region, officials set up distribution centres to hand out food and water to victims. Panama City, a popular spring break retreat, and Mexico Beach, another upscale coastline spot, were almost unrecognizable in Michael's wake.

"I didn't recognize nothing", said 25-year-old Tiffany Marie Plushnik, an evacuee who returned to a home in Sandy Creek too damaged to live in. Numerous 600 families who live there had followed orders to pack what they could in a single suitcase as they were evacuated before the storm. "I will not recall you and your families until we can guarantee your safety", Colonel Brian Laidlaw said in a statement.

The 17 victims comprised eight from Florida, five in Virginia, three in North Carolina, and a child in Georgia.

On Oct. 12 at 2:45 a.m. EDT (0645 UTC) the VIIRS instrument aboard NOAA's NOAA-20 satellite captured a view of the change in night-time lights in the area of the Florida Panhandle and Georgia where Hurricane Michael traveled, knocking out power. He said he did not know how long recovery efforts would take because "We need to restore basic utilities, clear our roads of trees and power lines, and assess the structural integrity of our buildings".

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