2 Dead, 700,000 Without Power As Damages From "Nightmare" Michael Top $20 Billion
In Florida alone, 6,700 people were in 54 shelters. The National Guard activated 3,500 troops, and the authorities said 1.5 million meals were expected to be distributed along with one million gallons of water. Much of the area in the storm's projected path was under a tropical storm warning.
Trump promised to be "totally focused" on the storm despite appearing at a campaign rally in Philadelphia, saying he would send his "unwavering love and support" and "sparing no effort, no expense, no resource to help these great fellow citizens of ours who are going through a tough time right now."
Some areas in Michael's path are still under a tornado watch, elevating the risks to lives and property.
Sometimes, hurricanes can spawn tornadoes as they move over land and Michael isn't an exception.
"With the projected path of Michael, the greatest risk for brief, spin-up tornadoes is near the storm center and south and east of the track of the storm," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said.
Since Michael is hitting parts of South Carolina that weren't heavily battered by Florence, experts believe it could take a few days for waters to crest.
As reporters made their way outdoors for the first time since the storm made landfall, they shared stories from residents of places along the panhandle coast like Mexico Beach. One woman who spoke with the NYT described how the storm had destroyed rows of homes, littering streets with debris for miles around and sending boats careening down flooded streets. In one neighborhood where there once were condos, nothing remained. At one area along the coast of the Florida panhandle, a storm surge of 8 feet was recorded.
"You can’t drive a car anywhere, you can’t do anything because it’s littered with houses, pieces of houses," said Patricia Mulligan, who rode out the storm with her family in a condo in Mexico Beach, a town of mom-and-pop shops and sport-fishing businesses about 35 miles southeast of Panama City. Outside, she said in a phone interview, she could see remnants of people’s lives strewn about: refrigerators, a beanbag chair, a washing machine, a kayak and a dresser.
Her brother, she said, lost a condo along the beach, and the other nearby units were also destroyed. "They’re not there," she said. "It’s gone."