Hurricane made landfall near Mexico Beach on Wednesday
We’re wrapping up our live updates for now. Among the key developments today:
A sixth death has been reported: a driver in North Carolina died after a tree fell on his car during the storm, authorities there told the Associated Press. The man was killed in Iredell county, north of Charlotte, which experienced flash floods and strong winds.
The recorded death toll from Hurricane Michael has risen to five. Four people died in Gadsden County, Florida, as a result of the hurricane, Lt Anglie Hightower, spokesperson of the Gadsden county sheriff’s office, CNN.
Florida governor Rick Scott, who is running for Senate, is pulling out of a debate scheduled for 16 October, asking for a two-week delay for the face-off. Scott, a Republican, is running against Democratic senator Bill Nelson and was slated to debate him on CNN next Tuesday.
Here’s an update from Richard Luscombe in Miami: As the most powerful and destructive cyclone to make a direct hit on the United States in 26 years, Hurricane Michael will force its affected communities to embark on an expensive, intensive and lengthy programme of rebuilding.
Tyndall air force base is closed indefinitely after suffering “widespread catastrophic damage”, officials there say. The base is near Panama City, in one of the areas hardest hit by the storm.
Michael is causing flash floods in parts of North Carolina and Virginia, the National Hurricane Center . Now a tropical storm, Michael is centered about 25 miles east of Greensboro, North Carolina with sustained winds of 50mph.
Mexico Beach resident Scott Cawthron told CNN his home was destroyed around him as he huddled with his elderly mother in a closet. He and his mother were both injured by debris but managed to escape.
Scott Cawthron from Mexico Beach laughs when asked if he has a home there. "Well, it's in pieces. The roof's over there, and the structure's over there underneath another house." He and his mom survived the storm huddled in a closet as the house crumbled around him.
The Panama City News Herald has an with locations where damage has been reported and photos of the scenes. Officials have told evacuated residents to stay away for now and are turning people back at checkpoints, the paper reported.
On Wednesday, our Jamiles Lartey visited Kindel Lanes in Marianna, Florida, where the owner and a group of his neighbors were riding out the storm. He returns today to find the roof was ripped off the building by the storm. The people inside retreated to a bathroom and weren’t hurt.
Sad news from Kindel Lanes where I reported from yesterday, that the owner and a handful of friends and neighbors were riding out the storm. The roof was ripped clear off causing catastrophic damage to the building. Luckily everyone is ok, they retreated to an interior restroom.
This is the inside of Hibbet Sports in Marianna where the front wall and roof collapsed.
Though only two deaths have been reported from Hurricane Michael so far, the number is likely to rise. In Mexico Beach, which FEMA administrator Brock Long called “ground zero” for the storm, whole blocks of homes were wiped away.
Another angle of Utter devastation. Winds, storm surge...
Before v. After ... homes swept off their foundations in Mexico Beach
MEXICO BEACH DESTROYED: There are absolutely no words to describe the destruction Hurricane Michael left behind at Mexico Beach, Florida when it slammed the area with 155 mph winds. These photos shared by NBC show so many homes completely destroyed.
Conditions are dire at Panama City’s Bay Medical Center Sacred heart, which is evacuating about 200 patients. The New York Times scenes of devastation and desperation there Thursday.
The 11-year-old girl killed in Georgia has been identified as Sarah Radney. Seminole County coroner Chad Smith made the identification Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
The two major hospitals in Panama City are evacuating their patients and shutting down due to heavy damage from Hurricane Michael, the Associated Press reported. Bay Medical Sacred Heart is transferring about 200 patients to other hospitals in Pensacola and Jacksonville, Florida, and Mobile, Alabama. Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center is also evacuating all patients.
Here’s an update from the Guardian’s Oliver Milman: The ferocity of Hurricane Michael has caught even some storm observers a little by surprise. Within two days, Michael had turned from a tropical storm into a category four hurricane that was the strongest to hit the continental US since 1992.
Hurricane Michael was an “unbelievably destructive, powerful” storm, Donald Trump said at the White House. “We’ve not seen destruction like that in a long time,” Trump said at a bill signing.
The Guardian’s Jamiles Lartey, who weathered the storm in Marianna, Florida, has re-established contact and will be filing a dispatch on the ground shortly.
Hey all thanks for your concerns and well wishes. I'm safe here in Marianna-- Towers are back online, no doubt thanks to the folks I met yesterday. The damage here is remarkable and people are telling me-- unprecedented. Will have updates shortly at and on here.
The view out my parents’ front door in Marianna. Used to be 40+ foot tall pine trees.
Not even going to lie this was scary. If got it this bad in Marianna I can only imagine the damage in PC♀️
A few of the photos from Marianna, Fl. These were taken in the middle of eye. When it came through, it sounded like a loud freight train. Prayers for everyone involved with this storm. eye
Just pulled into Marianna, FL & their is damage in every direction. Trees are blocking roads, power is down, roofs have been ripped off homes
Marianna is torn up
A federal judge has rejected a push to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline because of Hurricane Michael, the Associated Press reported. US district judge Robert Hinkle ruled late Wednesday that there was “no justification” to extend the deadline, according to AP.
Florida’s panhandle and gulf coast woke up “unimaginable destruction”, Florida governor Rick Scott said. “So many lives have been changed forever. So many families have lost everything. Homes are gone. Businesses are gone,” Scott said at a briefing at the state emergency operations center in Tallahassee. “Roads and infrastructure along the storm’s path have been destroyed. This hurricane was an absolute monster, and the damage left in its wake has yet to be fully understood.”
Michael is now bringing heavy rain and tropical storm-force winds over North and South Carolina, the National Hurricane Center in its 11am update. The center of the storm is about 35 miles southeast of Charlotte, North Carolina. Sustained winds measure 50mph.
Search and rescue crews have started making rescues of stranded people in the Florida Panhandle who rode out the storm. The US Coast Guard in Mobile, Alabama told the Associated Press its crews have rescued 27 people.
Mexico Beach is “gone” after taking a direct hit from Hurricane Michael, CNN’s Brooke Baldwin said as she surveyed the damage from a helicopter. Aerial footage showed whole swaths of homes complete demolished.
CNN’s is in a helicopter flying over Mexico Beach, Florida, getting a look at one of the hardest hit areas from Hurricane Michael: “It’s gone… it’s obliterated… I’ve never seen anything like this… I have no words”
More than 830,000 homes across the affected area were without power Thursday morning, Reuters . At its height, the storm had knocked out power at 850,000 homes. Crews in Florida and Alabama had begun restoring some power after the worst of the storm blew through.
The Florida Highway Patrol has closed 80 miles of Interstate 10, the main highway running through the Florida panhandle from east to west, to clear storm debris. Spokesman Eddie Elmore told the Associated Press the road was closed “due to extremely hazardous conditions.”
I’m urging residents of impacted areas to continue to stay off the roads and listen to your local authorities so that our first responders and utility crews can do their jobs. We’re working diligently to get to everyone as quickly as we can.
This morning, crews are already out working to restore power and clear debris. Please stay off the roads this morning to let these crews work. Many roads are closed for your safety. Remember do not touch downed power lines or drive into dangerous conditions.
The tiny town of Mexico Beach, Florida took the brunt of Hurricane Michael, which made landfall nearby with winds at 155mph. Entire homes were destroyed by driving winds, while others were completely submerged by water.
The Guardian’s Jamiles Lartey is in Marianna, Florida and has lost communications so far this morning. But he sent SMS messages late last night about what it was like as the eye and the eyewalls of the storm went by. At 11pm ET Wednesday, he wrote: “It passed right over me. We’re getting the rain bands coming through now. I can’t watch TV at all, no power at the hotel I’m in, but that doesn’t surprise me. But I’ve never experienced anything like this before.”
The center of Michael is now moving over South Carolina, according to the latest from the National Hurricane Center. Michael is now a tropical storm, driving sustained winds of 50mph.
After devastating the Florida Panhandle, Hurricane Michael for Georgia and the Carolinas late Wednesday. We’ll have more live updates today on its toll. A second death from the storm has been reported: An 11-year-old girl in Seminole County, Georgia died after a mobile carport was picked up by the wind, crashed through the roof of the home where she was staying, and hit her in the head, emergency management agency director Travis Brooks WALB.