17 dead, 763,000 without power in Michael's aftermath

17 dead, 763,000 without power in Michael's aftermath

"An enormous amount of 911 calls are going unresponded to because we've got this priority to search and rescue". In the storm's wake lay crushed and flooded buildings, shattered lives and at least 15 deaths that state and local officials have linked to the storm, with authorities investigating another three deaths.

Members from South Florida Task Force search a flattened home destroyed by Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, after Hurricane Michael went through the area on Wednesday. Four people died in Gadsden County and three died in Jackson County, in addition to one recovered so far in Mexico Beach, located in Bay County.

Emergency personnel scoured areas where entire blocks of homes and buildings were flattened, searching for survivors.

As it came ashore, Michael was just shy of a Category 5 - defined as a storm packing top sustained wind speeds of 157 miles per hour or above.

However, Florida Governor Rick Scott said he wanted to finish the search-and-rescue mission first. "You don't want to put a rush on a thorough rescue".

"We do not have a count, but we are working to identify them", Miami Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban, leader of a search-and-rescue team in Mexico Beach, told The Associated Press.

"Crews have encountered numerous downed trees, broken poles, flooded roads and saturated rights of way, slowing progress in some locations", the power provider said in a news release, adding that some remaining locations "will require significant repairs on lines that are hard to access". Because its policies are in the highest-risk areas of the state, its average policy costs almost $2,600 annually with a range from about $3,600 in Miami and the Florida Keys to about $1,700 in Taylor County, not far from where Michael hit.

And unless the rate of greenhouse gas emissions changes, hurricanes are expected to intensify more rapidly in the coming decades, the scientific research group Climate Central said. "We had furniture in our house that wasn't even our furniture".

With the majority of its 26,000 students displaced and many schools deemed not safe because of the damage, officials are discussing alternative ways to get students back to the classroom or provide psychological aid for them.

Responders are still trying to tally up the damage done by Hurricane Michael, including the death toll, which continues to rise.

Some residents were packing up and getting as far away as they could.

In nearby Panama City, Fla., few homes were destroyed but almost all were damaged. Several trees came down on their property, including one that smashed through the roof. "If we're going to rebuild, do it right".

The front door of Bay Medical Sacred Heart in Panama City was boarded up Friday and water service hadn't been restored but a handmade sign directed patients to the emergency room, which remains operational.

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. Some barely escaped with their lives as homes were pushed off their foundations and whole neighbourhoods became submerged.

"Those hospitals, the ones that my kids were born in and the ones that I was born in are closed", he said. "But I made it".

It was unclear how many people were still missing on Saturday.

Jordon Tood, 31, a charter boat captain in Port St. Joe, said: "There were mandatory evacuation orders, but only idiots like us stuck around".

At this time, more than 2,000 people are staying in Red Cross shelters.

This aerial photo shows debris and destruction in Mexico Beach, Fla., Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, after Hurricane Michael went through the area on Wednesday.

One who did, Albert Blackwell, was preparing today to cover holes in the roof of his apartment and take a chain saw to trees that fell and broke his windows just outside Panama City. "So I just have to be hopeful that (the city) will be rebuilt and fixed".