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Horrifying drone footage shows Hurricane Michael’s path of destruction across Florida

'This is as bad as it gets': Shocking aerial footage shows devastation of Hurricane Michael as death roll rises to 13 and 1.5 MILLION are left with no power

  • Drone footage shows Mexico Beach, Florida, a small beachfront community, nearly destroyed from the storm
  • Other drone footage shows destruction at the Tyndall Air Force base in Florida, including an overturned plane
  • At least 13 people have been killed since Hurricane Michael touched down in Florida, officials confirmed
  • Five people were killed in Virginia including four who were swept away by rising flood waters
  • A firefighter was also killed when another vehicle slammed into his engine on the highway on Thursday
  • More than 1.5million people remain without power and it is unclear when it will be restored to the area

By Valerie Edwards For Dailymail.com and Jennifer Smith For Dailymail.com

Published: 21:38 EDT, 11 October 2018 | Updated: 17:01 EDT, 12 October 2018

Devastating aerial footage has laid bare the extent of Hurricane Michael's wrath in Florida's Panhandle, with entire beach communities wiped out by the historic storm.

Mexico Beach, a small town with around 1,000 residents, took the brunt of the monster hurricane on Wednesday afternoon and is now barely recognizable.

The storm also caused 'catastrophic' damage to Tyndall Air Force Base which sits between Panama City and Mexico Beach.

More than 1million people are without power and at least 13 people have been killed across four different states.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long said on Friday morning that the number was expected to rise.'I expect the fatality count to rise today and tomorrow as we get through the debris,' he said.

President Trump gave a somber assessment of the situation on Twitter, writing: 'People have no idea how hard Hurricane Michael has hit the great state of Georgia.' He will visit Georgia and Florida next week, he said.

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This was what was left of Mexico Beach, a small beach community on the Florida Panhandle, on Thursday after Hurricane Michael hit it at full force, wiping out many of its homes and businesses. The town was described as the storm's 'ground zero' by FEMA officials on Thursday

Rescue teams remove a body was a home in Mexico Beach, one of the worst hit areas. The current death toll is 13 across four states but officials have warned that number is likely to rise as emergency crews finally make their way around the areas that have been inaccessible for days. In Mexico Beach, around 280 people stayed behind despite being told to go. Not all were accounted for on Friday 

Rescue teams remove a body was a home in Mexico Beach, one of the worst hit areas. The current death toll is 13 across four states but officials have warned that number is likely to rise as emergency crews finally make their way around the areas that have been inaccessible for days. In Mexico Beach, around 280 people stayed behind despite being told to go. Not all were accounted for on Friday

The victim's body was found inside a building where boats were being stored in Mexico Beach

The victim's body was found inside a building where boats were being stored in Mexico Beach

This was the desperate scene at Mexico Beach on Friday where dozens of homes once stood. The city's coastline has been entirely flattened

This was the desperate scene at Mexico Beach on Friday where dozens of homes once stood. The city's coastline has been entirely flattened

Horrifying wreckage in one stretch of land in Mexico Beach, once an idyllic beach community. 

Horrifying wreckage in one stretch of land in Mexico Beach, once an idyllic beach community.

A sobering view of the beach where houses once stood but have been either torn from the ground by winds or flattened by debris 

A sobering view of the beach where houses once stood but have been either torn from the ground by winds or flattened by debris

Much of the debris ended up in the water, where boats were kept, after Michael passed through on Wednesday bringing 155mph winds 

Much of the debris ended up in the water, where boats were kept, after Michael passed through on Wednesday bringing 155mph winds

Homeowners survey the unimaginable damage to their property on Friday. Not all of the 280 who stayed behind to brave the storm have been accounted for

Homeowners survey the unimaginable damage to their property on Friday. Not all of the 280 who stayed behind to brave the storm have been accounted for

One home in Mexico Beach was torn from the ground and thrown into water. It was sinking on Friday as residents returned home to learn what had become of their houses 

One home in Mexico Beach was torn from the ground and thrown into water. It was sinking on Friday as residents returned home to learn what had become of their houses

In Florida, Governor Rick Scott was out in the streets to greet residents as they returned to Mexico Beach for the first time since Michael hit on Wednesday.

Rescue teams are going door-to-door in the small coastal town to try to find any survivors who are trapped or anyone who did not make it.

Gov. Scott said on Friday morning that it was too early to tell how many people had died because so much of the worst-hit area remains inaccessible.

'We are not completely done, we are still getting down there,' he said.

Senator Marco Rubio painted a bleak picture of the situation on Friday, telling CNN: 'This is as bad as it gets.

There are around 100 people who stayed behind until the last minute. They were begging them to leave. They did not leave. That included some children and some elderly people who are still not accounted for.' Senator Marco Rubio

'I have lived in Florida my entire life and This is as bad as it gets. Panama City reminds me of South Florida after Andrew. It's going to be a long time to recover. It's going to be weeks before power will be restored.

'Mexico Beach is wiped out. Our biggest concern about Mexico Beach is there are around 100 people who they know stayed behind until the last minute. They were begging them to leave.

'They did not leave. That included some children and some elderly people who are still not accounted for.'

There is no cell reception in the area so people are still unable to call for help if they are stuck.

Rescuers resorted to comparing before and after photographs of the area on Friday to determine which houses were still standing and which had been obliterated.

Sen. Rubio said grimly that the operation would soon start focusing on identifying bodies found in the wreckage.

Flattened homes and businesses along the US 98, the road which connects Mexico Beach to Panama City and other parts of the Panhandle, were wiped out

Flattened homes and businesses along the US 98, the road which connects Mexico Beach to Panama City and other parts of the Panhandle, were wiped out

What remains of a battered home in Mexico Beach, Florida, on Friday. Crews drove around the largely impassable roads carefully to distribute water and supplies to any survivors

What remains of a battered home in Mexico Beach, Florida, on Friday. Crews drove around the largely impassable roads carefully to distribute water and supplies to any survivors

Home owners returned to their destroyed properties on Friday morning to start the clean up operation. Many had nothing to come back to 

Home owners returned to their destroyed properties on Friday morning to start the clean up operation. Many had nothing to come back to

A heap of toppled structures lies beneath a boat which was lifted by the winds and slammed around next to homes and businesses in Mexico Beach

A heap of toppled structures lies beneath a boat which was lifted by the winds and slammed around next to homes and businesses in Mexico Beach

The view outside a bedroom inside a home which was not destroyed reveals the devastating landscape in Mexico Beach

The view outside a bedroom inside a home which was not destroyed reveals the devastating landscape in Mexico Beach

The once pristine roads and backyards of Mexico Beach were transformed into a junk yard by Michael on Wednesday when it hit

The once pristine roads and backyards of Mexico Beach were transformed into a junk yard by Michael on Wednesday when it hit

Resident Pete Miller returns to what is left of his home in Mexico Beach. Emergency teams returned to the town with sniffer dogs on Friday to begin the grim process of looking for bodies

Resident Pete Miller returns to what is left of his home in Mexico Beach. Emergency teams returned to the town with sniffer dogs on Friday to begin the grim process of looking for bodies

A homeowner surveys the damage of his home in Mexico Beach on Friday after returning for the first time with other residents since the storm hit 

A homeowner surveys the damage of his home in Mexico Beach on Friday after returning for the first time with other residents since the storm hit

In Panama City, piers and marinas were strewn with debris and boats had collided as a result of the damage 

In Panama City, piers and marinas were strewn with debris and boats had collided as a result of the damage

Tiffany Cox (left) helps her friend Monica Fabie (right) to save any belongings that were not destroyed in the hurricane at Fabie's business in Mexico Beach 

Tiffany Cox (left) helps her friend Monica Fabie (right) to save any belongings that were not destroyed in the hurricane at Fabie's business in Mexico Beach

Flooding was a concern further along the Panhandle in Panama City. Above, a newly-released image of one patch of waterlogged land that was released on Thursday 

Flooding was a concern further along the Panhandle in Panama City. Above, a newly-released image of one patch of waterlogged land that was released on Thursday

Spencer Hardy saves some of his father-in-law's guitars from the family's destroyed printing shop in Panama City, Florida, on Friday 

Spencer Hardy saves some of his father-in-law's guitars from the family's destroyed printing shop in Panama City, Florida, on Friday

'At this point you'e going to see them move towards search and rescue but potentially identifying victims of the storm surge there. It's catastrophic.'

'You hope that at the last minute a bunch of people got up and left and went somewhere else. If you look at those homes that were once there. If you were in that home when that storm came in, you did not survive,' he went on.

FEMA bosses warned people not to return home on Friday because it still was not safe enough but their advice was largely ignored.

'There's no infrastructure there to support you, and quite honestly it's a dangerous area to go back into,' Administrator Brock Long said.

'When you have this type of destruction, there's gas lines that are there, there's power lines that are down. In doing so, you're putting your life in danger, and we ask you to be patient.'

On Friday, Virginia's Department of Emergency Management said five lives been claimed in the state.

A stretch of beach in Mexico Beach that was obliterated by Hurricane Michael on Wednesday ‹ Slide me ›

A stretch of beach in Mexico Beach that was obliterated by Hurricane Michael on Wednesday is shown, left, on Thursday and right, before the storm. Mexico Beach was one of the worst hit

The entire beach community of homes in Mexico Beach was obliterated by the storm. The city took the brunt of Michael, feeling the full force of its 155mph winds on Wednesday afternoon The entire beach community of homes in Mexico Beach was obliterated by the storm. The city took the brunt of Michael, feeling the full force of its 155mph winds on Wednesday afternoon ‹ Slide me ›

The entire beach community of homes in Mexico Beach was obliterated by the storm. The city took the brunt of Michael, feeling the full force of its 155mph winds on Wednesday afternoon

Michael has now moved away from Florida and the south and is lingering off the coast of New York. It has been downgraded to a tropical storm but is expected to move away, further across the Atlantic, by Friday night 

Michael has now moved away from Florida and the south and is lingering off the coast of New York. It has been downgraded to a tropical storm but is expected to move away, further across the Atlantic, by Friday night

Gulf Power shared photographs of downed lines in Panama City on Friday. The scene there was apocalyptic with cars overturned on the roads 

Gulf Power shared photographs of downed lines in Panama City on Friday. The scene there was apocalyptic with cars overturned on the roads

They include four people who were swept away by flood water and a fire fighter who died in a highway crash.

MICHAEL'S DEATH TOLL

Florida: 4

Georgia: 1

North Carolina: 3

Virginia: 5

Sarah Radney, an 11-year-old, was visiting her grandparents' home when Hurricane Michael roared into southwest Georgia.

She and her siblings were there on a fall break. Her parents decided cautiously to let them stay as Michael approached because they thought the home was powerful enough to withstand the storm.

If the family feared anything, it was probably falling trees – not a carport next to the house.

In what could only be described as a freak accident, authorities say Michael's powerful winds lifted the portable structure high into the air and slammed it back down on the house.

When it landed, one of the legs tore through the roof, fatally striking Sarah in the head. It also hit her grandmother, puncturing her in the lung and breaking her rib.

Sarah Radney, 11, was killed during the storm Brad Clark, 45, died when a tractor trailer smashed into his engine on the highway

The storm has claimed the lives of 12 people, including 11-year-old Sarah Radney (pictured), who was tragically killed in Georgia. She was killed when a carport smashed into their home and struck her in the head. Fire Lt. Brad Clark was killed in Virginia when a tractor trailer smashed into his fire engine on the highway

The storm caused 'catastrophic damage' at the Tyndall Air Force, which sits on the shoreline between Panama City and Mexico Beach (pictured), a small community which was almost completely destroyed

The storm caused 'catastrophic damage' at the Tyndall Air Force, which sits on the shoreline between Panama City and Mexico Beach (pictured), a small community which was almost completely destroyed

Horrifying drone footage shows Hurricane Michael's path of destruction across Florida as authorities confirm the devastating storm has killed 13 people. Pictured is what's left of Mexico Beach

Horrifying drone footage shows Hurricane Michael's path of destruction across Florida as authorities confirm the devastating storm has killed 13 people. Pictured is what's left of Mexico Beach

Sarah's father and stepmother, Roy and Amber Radney, said Thursday that Sarah loved being around her big family and made everything more fun.

Her grief-stricken father told The New York Times before she died that it was 'just hell'.

'Last night was just hell. I’m an hour and a quarter away, and my daughter’s dying, and I can’t do anything about it. I can’t think of anything that is more related to hell than that,' he said.

He urged others to heed warnings when they are told to leave their houses.

'I want people to know, man, when they say, "Get out of your house" — leave your house, listen to them. When they say, "No first responder is going to be able to get to you" — they’re not joking.'

Five people were killed in Florida after the storm devastated the state's Panhandle.

They include Steve Sweet, a 44-year-old who died in his wife's lap after an oak tree came crashing down on their home, crushing them both. His wife Gayle was able to call her father and brother who came to the house and pulled her out from beneath the tree. They could not save Steve.

An F-15 fighter jet on display at Tyndall Air Force's entrance was torn from its base and flipped upside down

An F-15 fighter jet on display at Tyndall Air Force's entrance was torn from its base and flipped upside down

Air Force officials said the base has 'sustained extensive damage and has been closed until further notice'

Air Force officials said the base has 'sustained extensive damage and has been closed until further notice'

Buildings were left completely destroyed and a parking lot was filled with overturned RVs and trucks. Pictured is a destroyed airplane hanger at Tyndall Air Force

Buildings were left completely destroyed and a parking lot was filled with overturned RVs and trucks. Pictured is a destroyed airplane hanger at Tyndall Air Force

A soldier stands guard at the damaged entrance to Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida 

A soldier stands guard at the damaged entrance to Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida

A wrecked boat yard in Panama City, Florida, on Thursday after Hurricane Michael 

A wrecked boat yard in Panama City, Florida, on Thursday after Hurricane Michael

Entire homes and buildings were wiped out by the monster storm which has so far claimed 12 lives 

Entire homes and buildings were wiped out by the monster storm which has so far claimed 12 lives

Fire Lt. Brad Clark died at the scene when a tractor trailer hit his fire engine on Thursday night. The tractor slid into his vehicle on the slippery road. James E. King Jr, 45, also died being swept away in his vehicle after being caught in a flash flood.

Another man, whose name has not yet been released, died in a storm-related traffic accident in North Carolina on Thursday, and a couple was killed when a tree fell on their car.

Some 1.5 million homes and businesses were without power from Florida to Virginia on Thursday because of the storm.

The number of people in emergency shelters was expected to swell to 20,000 across five states by Friday, said Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross. Meteorologists watched satellite imagery in complete awe as the storm intensified.

A train is seen tipped over from the severe storm winds of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida 

A train is seen tipped over from the severe storm winds of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida

Boston-based Karen Clark & Company, an insurance company that produces models for catastrophes is estimating Hurricane Michael caused about $8billion in insured losses. People inspect a Waffle House that was damaged by the hurricane in Callaway, Florida

Boston-based Karen Clark & Company, an insurance company that produces models for catastrophes is estimating Hurricane Michael caused about $8billion in insured losses. People inspect a Waffle House that was damaged by the hurricane in Callaway, Florida

'We are in new territory,' National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook. 'The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no Category 4 hurricane ever hitting the Florida Panhandle.'

Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the US mainland, behind the unnamed Labor Day storm of 1935 and Camille in 1969.

Based on wind speed, it was the fourth-strongest, behind the Labor Day storm (184mph), Camille and Andrew in 1992.

Boston-based Karen Clark & Company, an insurance company that produces models for catastrophes is estimating Hurricane Michael caused about $8billion in insured losses.

The company released the estimate Thursday. It includes the privately insured wind and storm surge damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties and automobiles.

But the figure does not include losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program. KCC estimates that nearly half of insured loss from Michael occurred in Florida's Bay and Gulf counties.

Total damages from storm surge are estimated to be $3.7billion, of which about ten per cent will be insured.

Georgia's Department of Agriculture is coordinating efforts to assist recovery in Southwest and Central Georgia, areas most affected by the hurricane.

Commissioner Gary W. Black, in a news release Thursday, said crops, animals and infrastructure have all taken a substantial loss because of the storm.

Black says poultry contributes $23.3billion to Georgia's economy and has reported the most widespread power outages and losses.

He says 84 chicken houses, estimated to have held more than 2 million chickens, were destroyed.

The farms, dairies and processing plants affected were in Appling, Colquitt, Coffee, Decatur, Evans, Houston, Mitchell, Randolph, Lee and Wilcox counties.

Damaging winds also drove much of the cotton crop to the ground for a total loss or tangled it, making it harder to extract clean lint during the ginning process. Assessments for peanuts and pecans are ongoing.

As thousands of National Guard troops, law enforcement officers and medical teams fanned out, the governor pleaded with people in the devastated areas to stay away for now because of hazards that included fallen trees and power lines.

'I know you just want to go home. You want to check on things and begin the recovery process,' Scott said. But 'we have to make sure things are safe.'

The Coast Guard said it rescued at least 27 people before and after the hurricane came ashore, mostly from homes along the Florida coastline, and searched for more victims.

Among those brought to safety were nine people rescued by helicopter from a bathroom of their home in hard-hit Panama City after their roof collapsed, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald Hodges said.

A dramatic video shows the moment members of the United States Coast Guard rescues a trapped woman in Florida.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crew, from Mobile, Alabama, rushed to Panama City on Wednesday to rescue an unidentified woman (pictured) after she survived the devastation Hurricane Michael

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crew, from Mobile, Alabama, rushed to Panama City on Wednesday to rescue an unidentified woman (pictured) after she survived the devastation Hurricane Michael

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crew rushed to Panama City on Wednesday to rescue the unidentified woman after she survived the devastation Hurricane Michael.

In the video, a member of the Coast Guard is lowered down to the ground.

A few moments later, a rescue basket is also lowered as the woman is located and helped inside.

She's then lifted back into the helicopter followed by the first responder who rescued her.

The woman was then transported to a hospital.

The rescue came just hours after Hurricane Michael ripped through Florida's Panhandle, nearly wiping out Panama City and Mexico Beach.

Danny (right) and Gina Holland (left) collect water in Parker, Florida. 'We're running out of water,' said Danny of his neighborhood up the street that was damaged by the storm. 'We're going to make do'

Danny (right) and Gina Holland (left) collect water in Parker, Florida. 'We're running out of water,' said Danny of his neighborhood up the street that was damaged by the storm. 'We're going to make do'

Kylie Strampe holds her four-month-old daughter, Lola, while surveying the damage from Hurricane Michael after riding out the storm in Callaway, Florida

Kylie Strampe holds her four-month-old daughter, Lola, while surveying the damage from Hurricane Michael after riding out the storm in Callaway, Florida

In Panama City, most homes were still standing, but no property was left undamaged. Downed power lines lay nearly everywhere. Roofs had been peeled off and carried away.

Aluminum siding was shredded to ribbons. Homes were split open by fallen trees.

Hundreds of cars had broken windows. Twisted street signs lay on the ground. Pine trees were stripped and snapped off about 20 feet high.

In nearby Panama City Beach, Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford reported widespread looting of homes and businesses.

He imposed a curfew and asked for 50 members of the National Guard for protection.

The hurricane also damaged hospitals and nursing homes in the Panama City area, and officials worked to evacuate hundreds of patients.

The damage at Bay Medical Sacred Heart included blown-out windows, a cracked exterior wall and a roof collapse in a maintenance building. No patients were hurt, the hospital said.

The state mental hospital in Chattahoochee, which has a section for the criminally insane, was cut off by land, and food and supplies were being flown in, authorities said.

Landlines and cellphones also were down to the complex, which has nearly 1,000 residents and more than 300 staff. They relied on emergency radios to make contact with first responders.

About two million ready-to-eat meals, one million gallons of water and 40,000 10-pound bags of ice are ready for distribution in Florida.

Total damages from storm surge are estimated to be $3.7billion, of which about ten per cent will be insured

Total damages from storm surge are estimated to be $3.7billion, of which about ten per cent will be insured

More than 330,000 people in Virginia were left without power, more than 310,000 in Florida, almost 190,000 in Georgia (power crew in Georgia), almost 27,000 in Alabama and almost 16,000 in South Carolina, local utilities reported

More than 330,000 people in Virginia were left without power, more than 310,000 in Florida, almost 190,000 in Georgia (power crew in Georgia), almost 27,000 in Alabama and almost 16,000 in South Carolina, local utilities reported

A woman walks through a damaged store in Springfield, Florida, on Thursday 

A woman walks through a damaged store in Springfield, Florida, on Thursday

Kelsey Gronbeck walks past damaged homes after checking on a friend's house in the aftermath of hurricane Michael in Callaway, Florida 

Kelsey Gronbeck walks past damaged homes after checking on a friend's house in the aftermath of hurricane Michael in Callaway, Florida

As the storm made its way inland, it caused havoc in Georgia, spinning off possible tornadoes and taking down power lines and trees.

Forecasters said it could drop up to seven inches of rain over the Carolinas and Virginia before pushing out to sea Thursday night.

In North Carolina's mountains, motorists had to be rescued from cars trapped by high water.

'For North Carolina, Michael isn't as bad as Florence, but it adds unwelcome insult to injury, so we must be on alert,' Gov Roy Cooper said.

Fast-moving Michael left North Carolina behind with rivers rising and more than 600,000 households in the dark.

Cooper's office said the power outages were concentrated in central North Carolina's Piedmont region, as trees and power lines toppled under the pressure of winds of up to 60mph.

Flash flooding was snarling North Carolina's two largest cities, Charlotte and Raleigh, as well as the university town of Chapel Hill. Residents are rescued from their apartment in Winston-Salem

Flash flooding was snarling North Carolina's two largest cities, Charlotte and Raleigh, as well as the university town of Chapel Hill. Residents are rescued from their apartment in Winston-Salem

A member of the Winston-Salem Fire Department's water rescue team unzips the life jacket worn by five-year-old Isabella Molina after bringing her from an apartment complex to drier land

A member of the Winston-Salem Fire Department's water rescue team unzips the life jacket worn by five-year-old Isabella Molina after bringing her from an apartment complex to drier land

Dozens of swift water rescues (pictured) and evacuations were needed in the Piedmont region as well as the state's mountains and foothills

Dozens of swift water rescues (pictured) and evacuations were needed in the Piedmont region as well as the state's mountains and foothills

A Winston-Salem firefighter walks toward an apartment building which was struck by a toppled tree on Thursday 

A Winston-Salem firefighter walks toward an apartment building which was struck by a toppled tree on Thursday

Flash flooding was snarling the state's two largest cities, Charlotte and Raleigh, as well as the university town of Chapel Hill.

Dozens of swift water rescues and evacuations were needed in the Piedmont region as well as the state's mountains and foothills.

More than 330,000 people in Virginia were left without power, more than 310,000 in Florida, almost 190,000 in Georgia, almost 27,000 in Alabama and almost 16,000 in South Carolina, local utilities reported.

Authorities said it would likely be a while before all power was restored.

More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were ordered or urged to clear out as Michael closed in.

But emergency authorities lamented that many people ignored the warnings.

'Why people didn't evacuate is something we should be studying,' said Craig Fugate, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a former Florida state emergency management chief. 'Is there more the government can do? But we ask that every time.'

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Leslie and Tropical Storm Nadine are no threat to land over the open Atlantic Ocean, but Tropical Storm Sergio in the Pacific is blowing toward Mexico's Baja California Peninsula.

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