17 dead after Hurricane Michael batters Florida - and figure likely to rise

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Long, who plans to head to the area hit by the storm over the weekend, said that in Bay County, Florida - home to Mexico Beach - "it's not safe to return", given the downed power lines and other debris littering the region.

"It was a very scary few hours of howling winds, windows blowing in, crashing roofs, ceilings collapsing, but patients being cared for throughout all of it", said Dr. Amir Haghighat, a cardiologist with the Cardiovascular Institute of Northwest Florida who works at Bay Medical.

"So many lives have been changed forever".

A psychiatric hospital in Florida is left isolated after uprooted trees blocked roads around Chattahoochee.

"Hurricane Michael is an unprecedented event and can not be compared to any of our previous events".

When Newsday contacted the Consulate General in Miami, an official there said they could provide no information related to the storm or whether any TT nationals in Florida were affected.

Michael also disrupted energy operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico as it approached land, cutting crude oil production by more than 40 percent and natural gas output by almost one-third as offshore platforms were evacuated.

As reported by news agency Reuters, emergency services carried out dozens of rescue operations that majorly involved rescuing people caught in the moving floodwaters in North Carolina on Thursday.

Which areas are worst affected?

Less than two days after arriving on the Florida Panhandle as one of the most powerful hurricanes in USA history, a Category 4 monster with 155 miles per hour winds that sheared roofs from houses and buildings and snapped trees and power poles, Michael moved off the East Coast early Friday morning and into the Atlantic Ocean as a post-tropical storm.

Images out of the Florida panhandle show utter devastation after Michael tore through trees and homes.

Twenty survivors were found in the town overnight, AP reports, but 285 had refused to obey warnings to evacuate.

Numerous injured in Florida were taken to hard-hit Panama City, 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Mexico Beach.

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Apalachicola, with 2,300 residents, was also badly affected, the mayor reporting that downed cables were making it hard to get through the town.

POWER RESTORATION. Utility workers fix power lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida, on October 12, 2018. "You're not going to recognize Mexico Beach".

No wind, nearly no-one on the street, just the beating hot Sun and the debris: debris everywhere, tossed and scattered - the calling card of a monstrous storm. "If we're going to rebuild, do it right". "We're not even close to having discussions on rebuilding yet". That home is now smashed, with no sign of the woman. This was her dream retirement place she tells me - the last four years spent doing it up.

"It was just a freak accident, I never heard of anything like that", said her father, Roy Radney.

- At least 11 deaths have been blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S.in over 50 years.

Florida officials say one man died when he was crushed in an incident involving a tree in Gadsden County.

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.

Over 900 000 homes and businesses in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas were without power.

Around 6,000 are thought to have sought refuge in official shelters, mainly in Florida.

The eyewall of Category 4 Hurricane Michael approaching the Florida Panhandle.

The NHC warned that communities in north-west Florida and North Carolina faced the threat of life-threatening flooding as rising water moved inland from the coast.

Tornadoes, unsafe winds and more flooding are possible in numerous same areas still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

Michael barrelled across the southern USA on Wednesday (Oct. 10), beginning the day as a Category 4 hurricane and rapidly losing wind strength as it traveled.

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