Authorities say 11 now dead from Hurricane Michael
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — Linda Marquardt rode out Hurricane Michael with her husband at their home in Mexico Beach.
When their house filled with surging ocean water, they fled upstairs.
Now their home is full of mud and everywhere they look there’s utter devastation in their Florida Panhandle community: fishing boats tossed like toys, roofs lifted off of buildings and pine trees snapped like matchsticks in 155 miles per hour winds.
Row after row of beachfront homes were so obliterated by Michael’s surging seas and howling winds that only slabs of concrete in the sand remain, a testament that this was ground zero when the epic Category 4 hurricane slammed ashore at midweek.
The destruction in this and other communities dotting the white-sand beaches is being called catastrophic — and it will need billions of dollars to rebuild.
“All of my furniture was floating,” said Marquardt, 67.
"A river just started coming down the road. It was awful, and now there’s just nothing left.”
At least 11 deaths were blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in over 50 years, and by early Friday it wasn’t over yet: a tropical storm long after Wednesday’s landfall, Michael stubbornly kept up its punch while barrelling up the Southeast, dumping heavy rains and spreading flash flooding misery as far away as Virginia.
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.