Rescuers will pick through the damage of otherwise thriving beach communities searching for survivors on Friday after Hurricane Michael, one of the most powerful storms in U.S. history, slammed into the Florida Panhandle, killing at least seven people.
The storm tore entire neighborhoods apart, reducing homes and businesses to piles of wood and siding, damaging roads and leaving scenes of devastation that resembled the aftermath of a carpet-bombing operation.
U.S. Army personnel used heavy equipment to push a path through debris to allow rescuers through to search for trapped residents, survivors or casualties, as Blackhawk helicopters circled overhead. Rescuers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) used dogs, drones, and GPS in the search.
With a low barometric pressure recorded at 919 millibars, a measure of a hurricane’s force, Michael was the third strongest storm on record to hit the continental United States, behind only Hurricane Camille on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969 and the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 in the Florida Keys.
It weakened overnight to a tropical storm.