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Hurricane Michael

Liza Wolfson, Staff Writer

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In the first few weeks on October 2018, the Southeast coast was hit with the news that a hurricane was coming. Many people overlooked the idea, and had the mindset of “I will be okay.” Before the sun went down and the skies turned dark blue, those in the path of Hurricane Michael had no idea what was coming. Hurricane Michael was the third-most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in the United States concerning pressure. It was the strongest storm on record in the Florida Panhandle, and was the fourth-strongest landfalling hurricane in the contiguous United States, regarding wind speed. The storm’s 155-mph winds took out most of the area’s tall trees and snapped thick trunks 12 feet off the ground. Boats in marinas were destroyed, and beaches are littered with debris. As a Category 4 hurricane to make landfall on the Florida Panhandle, the ferocious storm killed at least 17 people across Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

The storm devastated communities: Florida cities were destroyed beyond recognition by Hurricane Michael, and homes, businesses, and agriculture were torn or swamped from Georgia to Virginia. Specifically, the Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida, was left destructed. Every structure on the base was damaged, its airplane hangars shredded and mostly roofless. The base was first used in combat against Islamic State ground targets in 2014, where airplanes had flown at high altitudes over Syria because their advanced sensors could track Russian aircraft over the battlefield. The situation with Tyndall’s future has a lot of people on pins and needles because of its regional economic magnitude. Administrations and officials are working to rebuild, but things are still unknown and undeclared.

 

The storm left approximately 2.5 million electricity customers in the southeast without power. With nearly two weeks after Michael, power outages still plague the Florida panhandle with more than 100,000 Florida customers, according to the state Department of Emergency Management website. In addition to the power outages,  928 people are still unaccounted. Those people were informally reported missing to state and local officials, as well as the Red Cross, by concerned relatives and friends asking about the status of loved ones. State officials claim that teams are going “house-to-house” to reduce that number. Cell service still has not been restored, making the act of finding people even more difficult. Governor Rick Scott t said phone companies have been far too slow to restore service to battered areas.  Homeowners along the coast of Mexico Beach admit that they want to rebuild their lives somewhere else. It scares them to have land and build a home on a property that can is so vulnerable. Furthermore, with widespread damage to the county’s schools, officials told CNN.com that they have no idea when 26,000 students will return to class. The impacts of the Hurricane Michael go on and on: devastating and unimaginable.

Donald Howell helps Rick Gaddy remove debris from his garage after Hurricane Michael in Panama City.

Many things are being done to help the effects of Hurricane Michael. The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued more than 60 people an assisted nearly 300 by Friday evening. Google provides a donation service to help people direct their funds for powerful local impact. You can also help people affected by Hurricane Michael by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word MICHAEL to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Also, GlobalGiving’s Hurricane Michael Relief Fund supports local organizations by helping emergency medical workers “meet immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter.” Finally, GoFundMe created a page with Michael-related campaigns, including a general relief fund that is being managed by the Direct Impact Fund, a nonprofit. Many things are being done to help, and you can be a part of it. Interviewing a senior high school student, Fianko Buckle, he claims “I can’t imagine what people are going through. I guess they just have to take it day by day. I know I would want all the help and support I can get. The country needs to get together and help our citizens. We need to be the change.”

Liza Wolfson, Staff Writer

Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Wolfson was born in Michigan and came from a Russian, Jewish background. Elizabeth also goes by the name Liza because that’s...

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Hurricane Michael