“This one just looks like a bomb dropped.” That’s how one search-and-rescue worker described the catastrophic devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael, the Category 4 storm that has killed at least six people and has devastated communities across Florida’s Panhandle. Michael is the third most powerful storm to ever hit the U.S. mainland, and meteorologists say it was supercharged by warmer-than-usual water in the Gulf of Mexico. Some of Florida’s seaside communities, like Mexico Beach, are completely flattened, with homes destroyed and fishing boats flung ashore by the 155-mile-an-hour winds. This is Emily and Elizabeth Hansen, two residents of Mexico Beach.
Emily Hansen: “It’s pretty devastating. Like everybody we know lost their house—everybody—and their jobs.”
Reporter: “And did you guys evacuate?”
Elizabeth Hansen: “No, we stayed. We stayed in our home. Yeah, it was terrible. It was scary. We lost our chimney, so we have some…”
Emily Hansen: “Flooding damage throughout the entire house.”
On Thursday, Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm as it barreled through the Carolinas. States of emergency have been declared in Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. Click here to see our full coverage of Hurricane Michael and its link to climate change.