Hurricane Michael’s Aftermath
Michael began as a tropical depression on October 7th after over a week of slow development. The following day, Michael had intensified to hurricane status and finally developed the necessary strength to become a Category 4 hurricane the very next day. The highest sustained winds were reported to be 155 mph as it made landfall in the Florida Panhandle. Though areas like Central America, Cuba, Cayman Islands, and the Yucatan Peninsula were affected, great tragedy befell residents in the southeastern United States, particularly those in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia in particular.
Hurricane Michael is reported to have claimed at least 33 lives, though the search for victims and peoples unaccounted for continues, as rescuers continue to search for missing loved ones. These numbers are estimated as 18 deaths in the US and 15 additional deaths in Central America with an estimated damage cost of more than $8 billion.
With sustained winds of 155 mph upon landfall in Florida and central pressure of 919 mbar, Hurricane Michael is considered the most intense landfall US hurricane since Hurricane Camille in 1969 (900 mbar) and the strongest in wind speed after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 (maintained wind speeds of 165 mph). Additionally, Michael is the second most intense hurricane to make landfall in Florida after the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane.
The day before Hurricane Michael made landfall, Pres. Trump signed an emergency declaration for Florida allowing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate its disaster efforts and also authorizing funds for 75% to go towards protective measures and cleanup in a total of 35 counties. Immediately thereafter, seeing the damage done to Georgia counties, an equal emergency declaration with the same coverage was issued for 108 counties in Georgia.
Many are left without power, without homes, without comforts, homes, lives, properties, and businesses are decimated and are forced to rebuild.