Michael’s Death Toll Rises to 11, Including 5 Dead in Virginia

A Panama City Beach resident assessing the damage this morning

A Panama City Beach resident assessing the damage this morning

Hurricane Michael destroyed homes and businesses across Florida and Georgia after making landfall near Mexico Beach at near Category 5 strength on Wednesday afternoon.

The scenes were familiar across communities in Florida and Georgia as trees were uprooted and cracked like toothpicks, buildings with roofs peeled off and homes flattened into an unrecognizable landscape.

Many across Hampton Roads were impacted by now post-tropical storm Michael, which was a tropical storm when it crossed over Hampton Roads and northeastern North Carolina on Thursday.

Mexico Beach, Florida, looked as if a bomb had gone off as residents emerged to tally their losses. The hospital was evacuating 130 patients as it faced challenges of running on generators after the storm knocked out power, ripped off part of its roof and smashed windows, a spokesman for the hospital's owner HCA Healthcare said in an email.

Almost 950,000 homes and businesses were without power in Florida, Alabama, the Carolinas and Georgia on Thursday.

Since Tropical Storm Michael crossed into Virginia, the Virginia State Police have responded to dozens of calls for traffic crashes, stranded vehicles, downed trees, debris in the roadway and flooded highways. That would allow VDOT and utility crews faster access to and work at clearing the roads of downed trees and power lines.

Brad Rippey, a meteorologist for the U.S. Agriculture Department, said Michael had severely damaged cotton, timber, pecan and peanuts, causing estimated liabilities as high as $1.9 billion and affecting up to 3.7 million crop acres (1.5 million hectares). "My thoughts are with all those along with the Gulf Coast and my administration will continue our outreach to governors and state agencies where Hurricane Michael has produced widespread damage".