FEMA deploys thousands to Alabama and Georgia ahead of Hurricane Michael
FEMA Director Brock Long says his agency has nearly 3,000 people in the field ready to assist with Hurricane Michael.
He says teams and aircraft are ready to support any search and rescue missions in Florida or elsewhere, and that staging areas with commodities needed after storms have been set up in Atlanta and at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.He also says the Federal Emergency Management Agency is working “hand-in-hand” with Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
He praised Florida’s use on Tuesday evening of the wireless emergency alert system to let residents know that the storm was getting stronger.
As for the many people who ignored orders to evacuate, Long said Wednesday that people “who stick around and experience storm surge unfortunately don’t usually live to tell about it.”
National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham is warning that a Category 4 hurricane will bring catastrophic damage to Florida’s Panhandle.
Graham says Michael’s top winds of 145 mph (230 kph) are powerful enough to peel off roofs and cause the “complete destruction of houses.”
Stretches of the coast could see storm surge of at least 6 feet (2 meters), with waters rising in some places up to 14 feet (4 meters) above the ground.
Graham wants people to think about how tall they are, and just how high that water can be.
Michael is powerful enough to remain a hurricane well inland as it travels over Georgia on Thursday.
Graham says falling trees will pull down utility lines, leaving some areas without power for weeks, and hazardous conditions will persist long after the storm blows through.
He says the aftermath of a hurricane is “not the time to start learning to use that chain saw.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott says the impact of Hurricane Michael will be “horrible,” the worst storm to hit the Panhandle in a century.
Scott said Wednesday he’s “scared to death” that people in places such as St. George Island along the state’s coast had ignored evacuation orders.
He said he hopes that no one kept children with them as they chose to ride it out, but the time to evacuate from coastal areas has “come and gone.”
The governor said state authorities are now focusing on the recovery effort once the fast-moving storm blows through.
He has activated up 3,500 members of the Florida National Guard and says thousands of utility workers are on stand-by.
Huge waves are pounding the shore at Panama City Beach, where officials have announced they are now unable to respond to any calls for service.
Just inland in Panama City, the fire department says it will respond to only life-threatening emergencies and only within the city limits.
The biggest waves are shooting frothy green water between homes and up to the base of wooden stairs over the dunes and the skies appear menacing as tropical-storm-force winds lash the coast. Landfall is expected about midday Wednesday.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)
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