The hurricane killed dozens and severely complicated rescue efforts along the coast.
After forming in the southeastern Caribbean Sea two weeks ago and hitting landfall on Oct. 10 in Florida, Hurricane Michael has wreaked havoc on coastal cities. Many people have suffered from the storm by having their homes destroyed, their water sources disabled and their electricity cut off.
Michael, the fourth most powerful storm on record to hit the U.S., started off as a small storm that eventually intensified into a Category 4 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. According to abcnews.com, winds attained peak speeds of 155 miles per hour after making landfall near Mexico Beach and Panama City, Florida, making it the strongest storm of the season and causing extensive power outages across the region.
As the storm moved inland, it weakened and began heading northeast, toward Chesapeake Bay, until it was demoted to a tropical storm around Georgia. According to floridatoday.com, the tropical storm soon turned into an “extratropical cyclone” when the storm traveled off the coast of the Mid-Atlantic states. It finally dissipated on Oct. 16.
According to CNN, 36 deaths have been confirmed since Hurricane Michael ripped through the Florida panhandle. The current death count is from Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia; 26 of those deaths are confirmed to be from Florida alone.
Countless residents are homeless after Michael ripped apart hundreds of houses along the Florida coastline. The Washington Post explains that many civilians cannot even return to where their homes should be until the area is deemed safe and secure by authorities. This is because houses that were left standing still suffered from extensive damage to roofs that could potentially collapse.
The 155-mph winds caused trees and debris to fall into the roads, making it difficult for rescuers to reach certain places in Florida to help those in need. The Washington Post reports that at least “1,200 roads were closed” due to fallen trees. Residents of Florida who suffered from the storm are still relying on airdropped food and water to survive until electricity is restored.
Some people have been without power and clean drinking water since the beginning of the hurricane. According to CNN, the wind by itself left over “20,000 people without power” as the storm passed through Cuba.
The Washington Post explains that because many places in Florida are without power, residents are “unable to operate their well water pumps” to access fresh water. Some places have had electricity and water restored in their homes, but the counties that were hit hardest during the peak of the storm are still in the dark.
There is a strong ongoing effort to help restore basic functions in Florida. The Florida National Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the community are slowly returning the state back to normal. According to CNN, the combined efforts include helping people find disaster assistance and supplying food and water to those in need.