Dramatic drone video shows Florida school decimated by Hurricane Michael

  • Dramatic drone video shows Florida school decimated by Hurricane Michael

Dramatic drone video shows Florida school decimated by Hurricane Michael

Michael, the third most powerful hurricane ever to hit the United States mainland, weakened overnight to a tropical storm but marched northeast on Thursday, toppling trees with 80kph winds and bringing "life threatening" flash flooding to Georgia and Virginia, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported.

After daylight Thursday, Florida residents took stock of the epic scale of the disaster.

"I think everything from Panama City down to Mexico Beach is way worse than anybody ever anticipated", Florida Governor Rick Scott told the Weather Channel.

"CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor reports there is extensive damage in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Authorities say at least one person died, a man hit by a falling tree on a Panhandle home.

As we drove through mile after mile of swamp and pines, power and clearance crews worked in the heat. The Coast Guard said it rescued at least 27 people, and the National Guard rescued 20 people who survived the direct hit on Mexico Beach.

The area is known for its small coastal towns and wildlife reserves.

The NHC expects weakening today while the centre of the storm is over land.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said: "The center of Michael will move through eastern Georgia into central SC this morning".

Parts of North Carolina and Virginia could get as much as 9 inches of rain and flash floods. The Carolinas are still recovering from Hurricane Florence last month. Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center was treating some, but the hospital evacuated 130 patients as it faced challenges running on generators after the storm knocked out power, ripped off part of its roof and smashed windows, according to a spokesman for the hospital's owner, HCA Healthcare Inc (HCA.N).

Thousands of people hunkered down in shelters overnight after fleeing their homes ahead of the storm.

More than 70 percent of cell towers were down in the hardest-hit counties where the storm made landfall, and more than 185,000 cable customers in Florida were without service.

In Panama City, 20 miles northwest of Mexico Beach, buildings were crushed and boats were scattered around. Wind damage was also evident.

"There are so many downed power lines and trees that it's nearly impossible to get through the city", Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson said.

Here, boats docked in Panama City, Fla., are seen in a pile of rubble after Michael passed through the downtown area on Wednesday. Only Hurricane Camille on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969 and the so-called Labor Day hurricane of 1935 in the Florida Keys were more intense.

Michael was also top of mind for President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania. "I know that there's a lot of bad stuff that happened out there on the Panhandle, but I think that we were very fortunate here", Lake City resident Tyler Flanagan said. Even before landfall, the hurricane disrupted energy operations in the Gulf, cutting crude oil production by more than 40 per cent and natural gas output by almost one-third as offshore platforms were evacuated before the storm hit.