Just days after Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida, residents are returning to what is left of their homes. Here are the latest updates on the storm that damaged the East Coast.
Hurricane Michael was originally going to be a strong category 3 hurricane. By the time it hit Florida, Michael was one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States, with a pressure of 919 mbar and winds of 155 mph. This hurricane was only 2 mph away from a category 5, which is the most powerful hurricane, according to the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
As of Saturday, 19 people were killed directly because of the hurricane and tropical storm. That number includes 6 that were killed in Virginia. The most notable death was Lt. Brad Clark of Hanover County Fire Department and EMS. Lt. Clark, 43, and three other firefighters who survived were responding to an accident on I295 when a vehicle, driven by Lester Labarge of California, Maryland, crashed into the firetruck, killing Lt. Clark and injuring two others. Labarge, 49, has been charged with reckless driving and cited with defective brakes according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
As for the currently low death rate, the areas that were hit in Florida have a low population compared to Katrina, which made landfall in New Orleans in 2005.
As for Florida, the recovery process has just begun for the Sunshine State. People have started to pick up the pieces of their lives as they fight to get food and water. The Florida National Guard and numerous volunteer groups have been trying to provide as much water and food as possible, while the rebuild has not started yet. Florida Governor and Senate candidate Rick Scott calls the area hit hardest by Michael “a war zone.”
The hardest hit areas in Florida are Bay County and Mexico Beach. According to the head of FEMA, Brock Long, those areas are not safe to return to as of now and won’t be safe to return to for a while.
If you want to help with the Michael recovery efforts in Florida, the American Red Cross, World Hope International, and many other organizations have set up web pages so you can donate.