Associated Press

Update: Hurricane Michael Cuts Off Access to Florida Mental Hospital

October 11, 2018 - 7:25 am
Categories: 

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — Gov. Rick Scott says people from Florida's Panhandle to the Big Bend woke up to "unimaginable destruction." He says Hurricane Michael have changed lives forever, and "many families have lost everything." He says "this hurricane was an absolute monster."

Florida officials also said Florida's big mental hospital in Chattahoochee is "entirely cut off" by land, so they're dropping food and supplies in from the air. The mental hospital has a section that houses the criminally insane, but they say the facility itself has not been breached.

In Panama City, Bay County emergency management officials say most roads remained blocked by water or debris Thursday morning, so survivors in the should "stay put and standby."

As for people outside the disaster zone, they're asking people moved by images of the destruction to make monetary donations to relief organizations, rather than sending supplies.

___

10:10 a.m.

Gov. Rick Scott says the Florida National Guard got into Mexico Beach and found 20 people who survived a direct hit from Hurricane Michael.

The town where the hurricane made landfall Wednesday remained very difficult to reach by land a day later, with roads covered by fallen trees, power lines and other storm debris.

Overhead video from a CNN helicopter Thursday morning reveals widespread devastation across the town of about 1,000 people.

Entire blocks of homes near the beach have been washed away, leaving nothing but concrete slabs in the sand. Rows and rows of other homes are smashed to pieces or crunched to the ground and leaning at odd angles.

The town was under a mandatory evacuation order as the rapidly developing storm targeted the coast, but some people were determined to ride out the hurricane.

___

10 a.m.

Utilities in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama reported that more than 932,000 customers were without power in the wake of Hurricane Michael.

Nearly half of those affected were in Florida, which bore the brunt of Michael - the most powerful storm on record to hit the state's Panhandle. It left widespread destruction as it crossed into Georgia toward the Carolinas, a region still reeling from epic flooding in Hurricane Florence.

The Category 4 storm made landfall Wednesday afternoon amid beach resorts and coastal communities, packing 155 mph (250 kph) winds.

Michael thrashed Georgia as a hurricane and eventually weakened to a tropical storm early Thursday. Despite the downgrade, the storm was still pounding the Southeast with heavy rains, winds, and a threat of spinoff tornadoes.

___

9:50 a.m.

The Army Corps of Engineers is sending in generators to help get power to storm-ravaged areas, and teams to start clearing debris and begin building temporary roofs.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long said officials were just starting to go in and survey the damage but expect power to be out for weeks in some areas. Hurricane Michael made landfall in Mexico Beach, just down the coast of Panama City, and left a wide path of destruction in its wake.

Long says "Mexico Beach took the brunt, that's probably ground zero."

Red Cross officials say 7,800 people were in 100 shelters across three states. They said it's still not clear how many people stayed put and would need to be rescued.

___

9:40 a.m.

Emergency officials in South Carolina are reporting no injuries or deaths so far as Tropical Storm Michael moves across the state.

Emergency Management Division spokesman Derrec Becker said thousands of people lost power though, and 10 shelters are open for people seeking safety from the storm. Becker said about 55 people were in the shelters early Thursday.

The Talmadge Bridge on U.S. 17 over the Savannah River between Savannah, Georgia and South Carolina remains closed because of the threat of high winds on the suspension bridge.

Some other highways are still closed because of flooding and damage from Hurricane Florence last month.

Listen to KNX1070 live on the Radio.com app.

If you don’t have the Radio.com app, download it here.