Northern Florida Hit Hard By Powerful Hurricane Michael

Hurricane Michael causes widespread damage in Florida

The first footage is emerging of the "unimaginable destruction" Hurricane Michael left behind in Mexico Beach, Florida - the small city where the Category 4 storm made landfall on Wednesday. Michael's eye came ashore near Mexico Beach, about 20 miles (32km) southeast of Panama City.

Authorities said at least two people have died, a man killed by a tree falling on a Panhandle home and an 11-year-old girl killed by a tree falling on a home in southwest Georgia.

Sally Crown rode out Michael on the Panhandle thinking at first that the worst damage was the many fallen trees in her yard before she emerged to check on the cafe she manages.

Entire roofs were torn away and dropped onto a road.

Much of downtown Port St. Joe, 12 miles (19 km) east of Mexico Beach, was flooded after Michael snapped boats in two and hurled a large ship onto the shore, residents said.

At Jinks Middle School in Panama City, the storm peeled back part of the gym roof and tore off a wall.

Hurricane Michael's battering waves swamped streets and docks and shrieking winds splintered trees and rooftops.

As Michael moves on to the Carolinas, there are serious concerns about deadly tornados and more flooding following Hurricane Florence.

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The storm mangled buildings, toppled trees and covered roads in water.

Some 20 hours after making landfall, Michael still poses flash flooding threats to parts of Georgia, the Carolinas, and southeastern Virginia. About 359,000 customers in Florida were in the dark early Thursday, according to the state's emergency management agency.

Activists say the anti-environment policies of the Florida governor, Rick Scott, who they have nicknamed Red Tide Rick, are at least partly responsible for the unprecedented scale of this year's outbreak of a naturally occurring phenomenon.

The ultimate effect of Michael will take weeks to assess, but initial reports likened the ravages to that of Hurricane Andrew, which hit south Florida in 1992 causing $25billion in damages and took nearly two years to rebuild from.

Mr Long said several hospitals in the Panhandle were hit by the hurricane and patients had to be evacuated.

More than 830,000 homes and businesses were without power in Florida, Alabama and Georgia early Thursday.

Brad Rippey, a meteorologist for the US Agriculture Department, said Michael severely damaged cotton, timber, pecans and peanuts, causing estimated liabilities as high as $1.9bn and affecting up to 1.5 million hectares.

Michael also disrupted energy operations in the US 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.

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