Published: Sat, October 13, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Rescuers comb rubble of Florida beach communities for hurricane survivors

Rescuers comb rubble of Florida beach communities for hurricane survivors

Nearly 1.2 million homes and businesses were without power from Florida to Virginia on Thursday. "We do not have a count, but we are working to identify them", Miami Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban, leader of a search-and-rescue team in Mexico Beach, told The Associated Press.

Storm damage is seen after Hurricane Michael October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida.

Search and rescue operations continue and a long road to rebuilding, and recovery, has begun after Hurricane Michael devastated communities across the Southeast.

The storm inflicted significant damage in the Carolinas, including flash flooding, downed trees on roads, and people who needed to be rescued from flood waters.

US President Donald Trump said on Friday that he would visit Florida and Georgia next week.

Click through the slideshow above to see how Hurricane Michael affected the worst-hit Florida neighborhoods.

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Search-and-rescue teams began finding bodies in and around Mexico Beach, the ground-zero town almost obliterated by Hurricane Michael, an official said Friday as the scale of the storm's fury became ever clearer.

In Mexico Beach, the army used heavy equipment to clear a path in the debris and allow rescuers through to search for trapped residents, survivors, or casualties, as Blackhawk helicopters circled overhead.

Florida governor Rick Scott, called it "unimaginable destruction" and said: "So many lives have been changed forever".

The number of fatalities is expected to rise further as rescuers go door to door and comb through the rubble in Mexico Beach and other Florida coastal communities such as Port St. Joe and Panama City. Many survivors told of hunkering down in their homes as they were torn apart by the 150 miles per hour winds.

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.

"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.

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Michael's powerful winds and surging seas knocked row after row of Mexico Beach beachfront homes from their foundations.

"It's OK if you want to live on the coast or on top of a mountain that sees wildfires or whatever, but you have to build to a higher standard", he said. It looked a couple of days ago like it was not going to be much, and now it's looking like it could be a very big one, so we're prepared.

By Friday morning the storm remnants were about 275 miles (445 km) southwest of Nantucket, Massachusetts, packing maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph).

About 1.5 million homes and businesses were without power from Florida to Virginia on Friday, according to utility companies.

The number was expected to rise as the storm exited the state late Thursday, Duke said in a tweet.

"It was the ideal beach town".

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"I don't think it will ever be the same", said husband Danny Sinclair, 64, who is semi-retired. "They're not just my officers, the people that I work with, they're my family".

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