Hurricane Michael: at least 19 dead and millions without power
The tropical storm has left trail of ‘complete and total devastation’ in Florida and Georgia
The death toll from Hurricane Michael is continuing to grow, with at least six people reported dead in Florida and Georgia while hundreds more are missing.
Michael is the fourth most-powerful hurricane to ever make landfall in the US by wind speed, at up to 155mph - just shy of becoming a Category 5 storm. The storm hit the Florida Panhandle near Mexico Beach on Wednesday, leaving a trail of what the BBC describes as “complete and total devastation”, with buildings flattened, trees uprooted and power lines downed.
A total of around 1.6 million homes across six states in the southern US have been left without power, with North Carolina worst hit, CBS News reports.
The hurricane's deadly trail “now stretches from the Florida Panhandle, where it wiped away a coastal city, to the Carolinas, where it triggered flash floods that turned roads into rivers”, according to CNN.
Donald Trump had been briefed on the storm by Fema administrator Brock Long and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who advised the president that any buildings constructed prior to 2001 had not been designed to withstand the storm’s winds.
“This started out very innocently a week ago. This was a small storm,” the president said. “It grew into a monster.”
US National Weather Service director Dr Louis Uccellini described Michael as a “worst-case scenario”.
Prior to making landfall in the US, the hurricane battered Central America, triggering flash floods and landslides in Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, The Guardian reports. Six people died in Honduras, four in Nicaragua, and three in El Salvador.
But worse is still to come, says CNN. Michael “is expected to gain strength as it passes into Virginia and moves i