New before and after photos show devastation of Hurricane Michael

New before and after photos show how Hurricane Michael obliterated the Florida Panhandle

  • Hurricane Michael battered four states on Wednesday, killing 12 people and leaving 1.3million without power 
  • Among the worst hit was Mexico Beach, a small coastal town which was almost entirely obliterated 
  • The before-and-after pictures show the community before Michael pummeled it with 155mph winds and after
  • Five people in total were killed in Florida along with five in Virginia, one in Georgia and one in North Carolina
  • It will be weeks before people are able to return to their homes and officials fear the death toll will rise again 

With Hurricane Michael cooling off as a tropical storm off the coast of New York, the true extent it the damage it caused to Florida’s Panhandle has become plain. 

Entire communities including Mexico Beach and Panama City have been ravaged by the storm which hit on Wednesday, bringing 155mph winds to the area.

With the storm now clear of the area, authorities are working to recover any bodies from the wreckage that they could not get to when the storm was raging.

They, along with energy companies desperate to reconnect the 1million plus customers who have lost power, have taken to the skies in helicopters to survey the extent of the devastation and the results are sobering. 

Thirteen people are confirmed dead as a result of the storm but officials fear that number may rise. 

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Harrowing before and after photographs show the extent of the damage on Mexico Beach. The area is shown, left, on Thursday after Michael hit and right, beforehand. An entire pier was torn from the ground by the storm and homes were completely wiped out 


Mexico Beach’s homes were utterly destroyed. Emergency rescuers were still unable to get to the town on Thursday because the roads were impassable. They are now in the process or working through the damage to try to find anyone who is alive or dead 


Many roads in the region are impassable because of debris which was blown over the region by the monstrous winds. The Panhandle was hit worse by winds than it was by storm surge which is plaguing parts of Georgia and Virginia 


More of the devastation in Mexico Beach is shown above in images taken left, after the hurricane, and right, before. Of the 1,200 people who live there, around 280 stayed. Many are unaccounted for 


The Mexico Beach mayor said on Thursday: ‘We’re broken here. I think it’s pretty obvious we need some help.’ 


The aftermath of the storm is shown left, on Thursday. The same area, including a home which sits in the middle of a lake, is shown right, before the hurricane. Around 20,000 people are in shelters across the region because their homes have been destroyed


This is the Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin Aircrew’s view of Mexico Beach on Thursday, after Hurricane Michael passed through the region (left) and (right), an aerial view of the same stretch of beach before the devastating storm


A stretch of beach in Mexico Beach that was obliterated by Hurricane Michael on Wednesday is shown, left, on Thursday and right, before the storm. Mexico Beach was one of the worst hit 


The entire beach community of homes in Mexico Beach was obliterated by the storm. The city took the brunt of Michael, feeling the full force of its 155mph winds on Wednesday afternoon 

Michael has now moved away from Florida and the south and is lingering off the coast of New York. It has been downgraded to a tropical storm but is expected to move away, further across the Atlantic, by Friday night 

Mexico Beach was described as Michael’s ‘ground zero’ on Thursday by emergency workers. ‘Mexico Beach took the brunt. That’s probably ground zero,’ FEMA Administrator Brock Long said. 

As camera crews flew over it on Friday including one belonging to CNN, stunned reporters remarked: ‘It’s gone. It’s gone.’ 

Residents in other areas described the terrifying conditions as the storm hit on Wednesday including in Georgia where they likened the noise of the looming hurricane to a ‘train coming’. 

On Friday, Virginia’s Department of Emergency Management said five lives been claimed in the state. They include four people who were swept away by flood water and a fire fighter who died in a highway crash.

Sarah Radney, an 11-year-old, was visiting her grandparents’ home when Hurricane Michael roared into southwest Georgia. 

She and her siblings were there on a fall break. Her parents decided cautiously to let them stay as Michael approached because they thought the home was powerful enough to withstand the storm.  

If the family feared anything, it was probably falling trees – not a carport next to the house.

In what could only be described as a freak accident, authorities say Michael’s powerful winds lifted the portable structure high into the air and slammed it back down on the house. 

Horrifying drone footage shows Hurricane Michael’s path of destruction across Florida as authorities confirm the devastating storm has killed 12 people. Pictured is what’s left of Mexico Beach

The storm caused ‘catastrophic damage’ at the Tyndall Air Force, which sits on the shoreline between Panama City and Mexico Beach (pictured), a small community which was almost completely destroyed

Search-and-rescue teams fanned out across the Florida Panhandle to reach trapped people in Michael’s wake Thursday as daylight yielded scenes of rows upon rows of houses smashed to pieces by the third-most powerful hurricane on record to hit the US

When it landed, one of the legs tore through the roof, fatally striking Sarah in the head. It also hit her grandmother, puncturing her in the lung and breaking her rib.

MICHAEL’S DEATH TOLL 

Florida: 5

Georgia: 1

North Carolina: 1

Virginia: 5  

Sarah’s father and stepmother, Roy and Amber Radney, said Thursday that Sarah loved being around her big family and made everything more fun.

Her grief-stricken father told The New York Times before she died that it was ‘just hell’.  

‘Last night was just hell. I’m an hour and a quarter away, and my daughter’s dying, and I can’t do anything about it. I can’t think of anything that is more related to hell than that,’ he said. 

He urged others to heed warnings when they are told to leave their houses. 

‘I want people to know, man, when they say, “Get out of your house” — leave your house, listen to them. When they say, “No first responder is going to be able to get to you” — they’re not joking.’ 

Five people were killed in Florida after the storm devastated the state’s Panhandle. 

They include Steve Sweet, a 44-year-old who died in his wife’s lap after an oak tree came crashing down on their home, crushing them both. 

His wife Gayle was able to call her father and brother who came to the house and pulled her out from beneath the tree. They could not save Steve.  

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    A wrecked boat yard in Panama City, Florida, on Thursday after Hurricane Michael 

    Entire homes and buildings were wiped out by the monster storm which has so far claimed 12 lives 

    Fire Lt. Brad Clark died at the scene when a tractor trailer hit his fire engine on Thursday night. The tractor slid into his vehicle on the slippery road. 

    James E. King Jr, 45, also died being swept away in his vehicle after being caught in a flash flood.

    Another man, whose name has not yet been released, died in a storm-related traffic accident in North Carolina on Thursday.  

    More than 1.2 million homes and businesses were without power from Florida to Virginia on Thursday because of the storm.

    The number of people in emergency shelters was expected to swell to 20,000 across five states by Friday, said Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross.  Meteorologists watched satellite imagery in complete awe as the storm intensified.

    ‘We are in new territory,’ National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook. ‘The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no Category 4 hurricane ever hitting the Florida Panhandle.’ 

    A train is seen tipped over from the severe storm winds of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida 

    Boston-based Karen Clark & Company, an insurance company that produces models for catastrophes is estimating Hurricane Michael caused about $8billion in insured losses. People inspect a Waffle House that was damaged by the hurricane in Callaway, Florida

    Under a clear blue sky, families living along the Florida Panhandle emerged from shelters and hotels to a perilous landscape of shattered homes and shopping centers, beeping security alarms, wailing sirens and hovering helicopters.

    Gov Rick Scott said the Panhandle woke up to ‘unimaginable destruction’. 

    ‘So many lives have been changed forever. So many families have lost everything,’ he said.

    The full extent of Michael’s fury was only slowly becoming clear, with some of the hardest-hit areas difficult to reach because of roads blocked by debris or water. 

    An 80-mile stretch of Interstate 10, the main east-west route along the Panhandle, was closed.

    Some of the worst damage was in Mexico Beach, where the hurricane crashed ashore Wednesday as a Category 4 monster with 155mph winds and a storm surge of 9 feet. 

    Video from a drone revealed widespread devastation across the town of about 1,000 people.

    Some of the worst damage was in Mexico Beach, where the hurricane crashed ashore Wednesday as a Category 4 monster with 155mph winds and a storm surge of 9 feet 

    Entire blocks of homes near the beach were obliterated, reduced to concrete slabs in the sand. Other homes were turned into piles of splintered lumber or were crumpled and slumped at odd angles. Entire roofs were torn away and dropped onto a road 


    The storm has claimed the lives of 12 people, including 11-year-old Sarah Radney (pictured), who was tragically killed in Georgia. She was killed when a carport smashed into their home and struck her in the head. Fire Lt. Brad Clark was killed in Virginia when a tractor trailer smashed into his fire engine on the highway 

    As thousands of National Guard troops, law enforcement officers and medical teams fanned out, the governor pleaded with people in the devastated areas to stay away for now because of hazards that included fallen trees and power lines.

    ‘I know you just want to go home. You want to check on things and begin the recovery process,’ Scott said. But ‘we have to make sure things are safe.’

    The Coast Guard said it rescued at least 27 people before and after the hurricane came ashore, mostly from homes along the Florida coastline, and searched for more victims.

    Among those brought to safety were nine people rescued by helicopter from a bathroom of their home in hard-hit Panama City after their roof collapsed, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald Hodges said.

    A dramatic video shows the moment members of the United States Coast Guard rescues a trapped woman in Florida. 

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      An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crew, from Mobile, Alabama, rushed to Panama City on Wednesday to rescue an unidentified woman (pictured) after she survived the devastation Hurricane Michael

      In nearby Panama City Beach, Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford reported widespread looting of homes and businesses. 

      He imposed a curfew and asked for 50 members of the National Guard for protection.

      The hurricane also damaged hospitals and nursing homes in the Panama City area, and officials worked to evacuate hundreds of patients. 

      The damage at Bay Medical Sacred Heart included blown-out windows, a cracked exterior wall and a roof collapse in a maintenance building. No patients were hurt, the hospital said.

      The state mental hospital in Chattahoochee, which has a section for the criminally insane, was cut off by land, and food and supplies were being flown in, authorities said. 

      Landlines and cellphones also were down to the complex, which has nearly 1,000 residents and more than 300 staff. They relied on emergency radios to make contact with first responders.

      About two million ready-to-eat meals, one million gallons of water and 40,000 10-pound bags of ice are ready for distribution in Florida. 

      More than 330,000 people in Virginia were left without power, more than 310,000 in Florida, almost 190,000 in Georgia (power crew in Georgia), almost 27,000 in Alabama and almost 16,000 in South Carolina, local utilities reported

      Kelsey Gronbeck walks past damaged homes after checking on a friend’s house in the aftermath of hurricane Michael in Callaway, Florida 

      As the storm made its way inland, it caused havoc in Georgia, spinning off possible tornadoes and taking down power lines and trees. 

      Forecasters said it could drop up to seven inches of rain over the Carolinas and Virginia before pushing out to sea Thursday night.

      In North Carolina’s mountains, motorists had to be rescued from cars trapped by high water.

      ‘For North Carolina, Michael isn’t as bad as Florence, but it adds unwelcome insult to injury, so we must be on alert,’ Gov Roy Cooper said.

      Fast-moving Michael left North Carolina behind with rivers rising and more than 600,000 households in the dark.

      Cooper’s office said the power outages were concentrated in central North Carolina’s Piedmont region, as trees and power lines toppled under the pressure of winds of up to 60mph. 

      Flash flooding was snarling North Carolina’s two largest cities, Charlotte and Raleigh, as well as the university town of Chapel Hill. Residents are rescued from their apartment in Winston-Salem

      Dozens of swift water rescues (pictured) and evacuations were needed in the Piedmont region as well as the state’s mountains and foothills

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