Survivors scramble for food and water in the wake of Hurricane Michael

Submitted by Sharon to WCTV  Tallahassee Florida

Submitted by Sharon to WCTV Tallahassee Florida

Six people are dead in the storm's path, and authorities fear the toll could climb higher as search-and-rescue efforts continue.

Linda Marquardt and her husband managed to survive when Michael's eye passed directly over their Mexico Beach home, which was inundated by surging water as 155 miles per hour winds obliterated much of the city.

"There are individuals who are deceased".

No other information was available about the deceased man found in Mexico Beach, said Joseph Zahralban, Miami's fire chief and the task force leader of a search and rescue unit.

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

One body was found in the wreckage of a home in the town on Friday, but teams planned to be back out to comb through the debris on Saturday.

Steve Sweet, who lived in Gretna, Florida, was killed by a falling tree.

Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, called Mexico Beach, which has a population of about 1,200, "ground zero" for the hurricane damage.

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

But for now, they - along with their loved ones - can check on properties ravaged by Hurricane Michael with new aerial imagery from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Mexico Beach, once a pristine and popular detsination is now wiped out-as if a bomb went off.

"There's a pile", McPherson said as they searched for signs of life.

State officials said 285 people in Mexico Beach had refused to leave ahead of the hurricane despite a mandatory evacuation order. The destruction in Bay County has largely been from wind damage, as opposed to the flooding during Katrina. "Literally overnight it went from a Category 1 or 2 to a Category 4, nearly borderline 5". This is pretty extensive, the damage.

Hurricane Andrew killed 44 people in South Florida when it made landfall near Homestead on August 24, 1992.

Video shot by CNN from a helicopter showed homes closest to the water in Mexico Beach had lost all but their foundations.

The storm surge of up to 14ft then sent Gulf of Mexico waters crashing over the coastal communities of the Florida Panhandle and far inland.

Shell-shocked survivors who barely escaped with their lives told of terrifying winds, surging floodwaters and homes cracking like eggs.

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"Mexico Beach is devastated", Florida Governor Rick Scott said of the town where Michael made landfall as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday. "I have been up since 3:30 or 4 a.m. emailing and checking on staff to see if they are safe".

Hanson stayed in his family's house one block from the beach to ride out the storm, along with his uncle and 98-year-old grandmother. The roof caved in and the living room and garage of his parents' home no longer exist.

"Once that sheer weakened, the rest of the conditions were already present", said Corene J. Matyas, a hurricane expert and associate professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Florida. She was shaking extremely bad.

Her brother was able to tell a friend that his home was starting to get cracks in the walls and water was rushing in Wednesday. "And my mom was praying with Jesus on the phone about it the whole time you know - 'Please let him be alive'".

Tornadoes, unsafe winds and more flooding are possible in numerous same areas still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

In the case of Michael, the storm appeared to be heading into a hurricane-snuffing environment of strong wind sheer, the differences in wind speed and direction that can disrupt a hurricane's rotating, cone-shaped structure.

Nearly 1.1 million homes and businesses were without power from Florida to Virginia early on Friday, according to utility companies.

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