Panama City : Search and rescue teams on Friday faced a second day of sifting through the ruined landscape left by furious Hurricane Michael as it devastated coastal communities in the Florida Panhandle. With the death toll at 13, Michael, now a tropical storm, sped east over Virginia and was close to reaching the Atlantic. It left a stunning swathe of destruction behind, officials said. In Mexico Beach, a seafront town where the hurricane made landfall, houses had been razed by a storm surge, boats had been tossed into yards and the streets were littered with trees and power lines.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said the storm had caused “unbelievable devastation” and the priority for the moment was looking for survivors among residents who failed to heed orders to evacuate. “I’m concerned about our citizens that didn’t evacuate and I just hope that, you know, we don’t have much loss of life,” he said. The US Army said over 2,000 Florida National Guard soldiers were working on the recovery operations. There have been 11 confirmed deaths so far, five in Virginia, four in Florida’s Gadsden County, one in Georgia, and one in North Carolina. President Trump pledged to help storm victims. “Our hearts are with the thousands who have sustained property damage, in many cases entirely wiped out. We will not rest or waver till the job is done and the recovery is complete,” Trump said.