Hurricane Michael leaves massive destruction in the US


In southwest Georgia, a girl was killed in her home as the storm swept through the region.

One of the first things you notice as you walk into Mexico Beach is the stillness. "It was terrible, and now there's just nothing left".

Six Florida counties remain under curfews, as work crews try to push debris off of roads so utility and emergency crews can start to fix the damage and reach people who need help after one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the U.S.

High winds, downed trees, streets inundated by rising waters and multiple rescues of motorists from waterlogged cars played out in spots around Virginia and neighbouring North Carolina.

It was downgraded to a tropical storm as it moved through the Carolinas, which are still recovering from last month's Hurricane Florence. The NHC forecasts up to 7 inches for north-central North Carolina, into south-central to southeast Virginia.

In Virginia, the National Weather Service said on Friday, "significant river flooding is occurring or forecast on the Appomattox River and possibly even on the lower James River".

Blocks and blocks of homes were demolished, reduced to piles of splintered lumber or mere concrete slabs, by the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental almost 50 years.

"Hurricane Michael arrived before most of the state farmers had started harvest for the season - specifically for pecans, peanuts and cotton", Tasnim Shamma reports from Atlanta member station WABE, for NPR's Newscast unit. "I don't know what I'm going to do", said Williams.

The devastation to the tiny towns of Mexico City and Panama City Beach was enormous - one resident said it "looked like a bomb went off" - and yet the hurricane's descent on a sparsely populated stretch of beach was credited with limiting the damage. Twisted street signs lay on the ground.

A man who died when a tree fell on a home near Greensboro, Florida, has been identified as Steven Sweet, according to Lt. Anglie Hightower, Gadsden County sheriff's public information officer.

Hundreds of residents were rescued Thursday from cars, apartments and homes flooded by rushing water.

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

Florida has been battling the scourge of the poisonous red tide algae blooms for most of the summer, with tens of thousands of dead marine life, including fish, dolphins, manatees and turtles, washing up on beaches along the state's south-western coast.

Hurricane Michael brings widespread damage and destruction to the Florida Panhandle; Mike Tobin reports.

An insurance company that produces models for catastrophes estimated the damage at $8 billion. It doesn't include losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program.

So far, at least two deaths have been attributed to the storm, but vast swaths of property were levelled.

Hurricane Michael's violence was visible on Thursday in shattered Florida coastal towns, where rows of homes were ripped from foundations and roofs were peeled off schools by the near-record-force storm blamed for seven deaths. A driver in North Carolina was killed when a tree fell on his vehicle.

Social media websites were filled with messages from people trying to reach missing family members in Florida's Bay and Gulf Counties.

More than 375 000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were ordered or urged to clear out as Michael closed in.

More than 370,000 people in Florida were ordered to evacuate but officials believe many ignored the warning.

Ken Widelski, NOAA/NWS emergency-response meteorologist, said the storm presented a risk of more flooding for communities in SC and North Carolina still recovering from Hurricane Florence, which made landfall last month as a Category 1 storm but soaked the area after stalling for several days.