Florida town nearly wiped off the map by Hurricane Michael

News source from CTV News

A Florida town has been nearly wiped off the map and at least six people are dead after Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida Panhandle, Georgia and the Carolinas.

CTV’s Tom Walters reports from Mexico Beach, Fla., the town that took the brunt of what’s being called the most powerful storm to hit the continental U.S. in 50 years.

Entire neighbourhoods in Mexico Beach have been reduced to concrete slabs, many of them covered in sand and debris.

Even the newest homes, built to withstand powerful storms, were obliterated by the Category 4 hurricane’s 250 kilometre-an-hour winds and three-metre storm surge.

Residents like Scott Boutwell are in shock.

“It’s like our lives are gone, everything we have is gone now,” he said. “We lost all our cars. Everything.”

Despite a mandatory evacuation order, officials said 285 out of roughly 1,200 Mexico Beach residents opted not to leave. It’s unclear how many of them are missing.

Mishelle McPherson’s elderly neighbour was among those who stayed behind. McPherson and her husband spend Thursday searching for her.

“There’s a pile,” McPherson said as they searched for signs of life. “That’s her bathroom. She may have went in her bathroom.”

Craig Fugate, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a former emergency management chief for the state of Florida, said “this is what we expect with storm surge and high wind events.”

In nearby Panama City, Fla., few homes were destroyed but nearly all were damaged. The city was also dealing with downed power lines, fallen trees and power outages.

In Chattahoochee, Fla., a hospital with a section for the criminally insane was cut off by land and without phone service. Food and emergency supplies had to be flown in.

With a report from CTV’s Tom Walters and files from The Associated Press

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