North America’There’s just nothing left’: 24 poignant images show true destruction of Hurricane Michael Hurricane Michael’s pounding waves and winds have obliterated row after row of beachfront homes after the Category 4 hurricane slammed ashore on the Florida Panhandle.

First responders and residents walk along a main street following Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
First responders and residents walk along a main street following Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
An entire neighborhood between 40th Street and 42nd Street in Mexico Beach, Fla. was wiped out by Hurricane Michael, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (Michael Snyder/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)
A pool hall damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Callaway, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A U.S. flag flies in front of a building damaged by Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A collapsed building damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Callaway, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A transmission tower damaged by Hurricane Michael is seen in Callaway, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A church damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Springfield, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
An overturned trailer home damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Springfield, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
People inspect a Waffle House damaged by Hurricane Michael in Callaway, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
13-year-old Kaleb Cassel removes belongings from a flea market damaged by Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
Tyler Cassel walks in front of a flea market damaged by Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A U.S. flag flies in front of a building damaged by Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
Cars are seen damaged by Hurricane Michael at a car dealership in Panama City, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
Aerial photo shows homes destroyed after Hurricane Michael smashed into Florida’s northwest coast in Mexico Beach, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2018. Courtesy James E. Wyatt/U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS
Aerial photo shows homes and businesses destroyed after Hurricane Michael smashed into Florida’s northwest coast in Mexico Beach, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2018. Courtesy James E. Wyatt/U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Handout via REUTERS
A Duke Energy crew works near power lines during an operation to restore power, along a damaged road after Hurricane Michael blew through Carrabelle, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. Duke Energy/via REUTERS
Aerial photo shows homes and businesses destroyed after Hurricane Michael smashed into Florida’s northwest coast in Mexico Beach, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2018. Courtesy James E. Wyatt/U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Handout via REUTERS
Aerial photo shows homes and businesses destroyed after Hurricane Michael smashed into Florida’s northwest coast in Mexico Beach, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2018. Courtesy James E. Wyatt/U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Handout via REUTERS
An aerial view shows debris strewn over streets after Hurricane Michael blew through Mexico Beach, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2018 in this still image taken from drone video obtained from social media. Duke Energy/via REUTERS
First responders and residents walk along a main street following Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A damaged road after Hurricane Michael blew through Carrabelle, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. Duke Energy/via REUTERS
A bedroom of a destroyed house is pictured following Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A bar that has been demolished is pictured following Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A damaged road after Hurricane Michael blew through Carrabelle, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. Duke Energy/via REUTERS
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  • ‘There’s just nothing left’: 24 poignant images show true destruction of Hurricane Michael
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    Hurricane Michael’s pounding waves and winds have obliterated row after row of beachfront homes after the Category 4 hurricane slammed ashore on the Florida Panhandle.
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Hurricane Michael’s pounding waves and winds have obliterated row after row of beachfront homes after the Category 4 hurricane slammed ashore on the Florida Panhandle.

Recovery is just barely beginning from the catastrophic destruction even as a downgraded Michael spreads high winds, rains and flash flooding misery as far away as Virginia.

At least three deaths were blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental US in over 50 years, and by early Friday it was not over yet: a tropical storm long after Wednesday’s landfall, Michael stubbornly kept up its punch while barrelling up the south-east.

While forecasters said Michael was gradually losing its tropical traits, a new chapter would begin as an extra-tropical storm, predicted to intensify with gale force winds once it starts cross out into the Atlantic.

A U.S. flag flies in front of a building damaged by Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan BachmanA U.S. flag flies in front of a building damaged by Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A U.S. flag flies in front of a building damaged by Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

Linda Marquardt rode out the hurricane with her husband at their home in Mexico Beach.

When their house filled with surging ocean water, they fled upstairs.

People inspect a Waffle House damaged by Hurricane Michael in Callaway, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan BachmanPeople inspect a Waffle House damaged by Hurricane Michael in Callaway, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
People inspect a Waffle House damaged by Hurricane Michael in Callaway, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

Now their home is full of mud and everywhere they look there is utter devastation in their Florida Panhandle community, with roofs lifted off of buildings and pine trees snapped in 155 mph winds.

The destruction in this and other communities dotting the white-sand beaches is being called catastrophic – and it will need billions of dollars to rebuild.

An entire neighborhood between 40th Street and 42nd Street in Mexico Beach, Fla. was wiped out by Hurricane Michael, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (Michael Snyder/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)An entire neighborhood between 40th Street and 42nd Street in Mexico Beach, Fla. was wiped out by Hurricane Michael, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (Michael Snyder/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)
An entire neighborhood between 40th Street and 42nd Street in Mexico Beach, Fla. was wiped out by Hurricane Michael, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (Michael Snyder/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)

“All of my furniture was floating,” said Ms Marquardt, 67.

“A river just started coming down the road. It was awful, and now there’s just nothing left.”

A collapsed building damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Callaway, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan BachmanA collapsed building damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Callaway, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A collapsed building damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Callaway, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

In North Carolina’s mountains, motorists had to be rescued from cars trapped by high water.

High winds toppled trees and power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

An overturned trailer home damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Springfield, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan BachmanAn overturned trailer home damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Springfield, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
An overturned trailer home damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Springfield, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

Flash flooding also was reported in the big North Carolina cities of Charlotte and Raleigh.

All told, more than 900,000 homes and businesses in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas were without power.

Meanwhile, thousands of National Guard troops, law enforcement officers and rescue teams still had much to do in Florida’s Panhandle, the hardest hit area.

Families living along the Panhandle are now faced with a struggle to survive in a perilous landscape of shattered homes and shopping centres.

In one community, Panama City, most homes were still standing, but no property was left undamaged.

Downed power lines and twisted street signs lay all around.

Aluminium siding was shredded and homes were split by fallen trees. Hundreds of cars had broken windows.

The hurricane damaged hospitals and nursing homes in Panama City, and officials worked to evacuate hundreds of patients.

“So many lives have been changed forever. So many families have lost everything,” said Florida governor Rick Scott, calling it “unimaginable destruction.”

Michael also was deadly, both in Florida and beyond.

A man outside Tallahassee, Florida, was killed by a falling tree, and an 11-year-old girl in Georgia died when Michael’s winds picked up a carport and dropped it on her home, debris striking her in the head.

A driver in North Carolina also was killed when a tree fell on his car.

Some fear the toll can only rise as rescue teams get around storm debris blocking roads and reach isolated areas.

More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were ordered or urged to clear out as Michael closed in, but emergency authorities lamented that many ignored the warnings.

The Coast Guard said it rescued at least 27 people before and after the hurricane’s landfall, mostly from coastal homes.

Nine people had to be rescued by helicopter from a bathroom of a home in hard-hit Panama City after their roof collapsed, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald Hodges said.

In hard-hit Mexico Beach alone, state officials say, 285 people in Mexico Beach defied a mandatory evacuation order ahead of Michael.

National Guard troops made their way into the ground-zero town and found 20 survivors initially on Wednesday night, and more rescue crews are arriving, but the fate of many residents was unknown.

Press Association

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