MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Upon touring the damage in several towns along Florida’s Panhandle, Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long called the destruction left by Hurricane Michael some of the worst he’s ever seen.
On Monday, President Donald Trump plans to visit Florida and Georgia and see the recovery effort for himself. Trump declared a state of emergency for Georgia late Sunday.
In hurricane-flattened Mexico Beach, crews with backhoes and other heavy equipment scooped up splintered boards, broken glass, chunks of asphalt and other debris Sunday as the mayor held out hope for the 250 or so residents who may have tried to ride out the storm.
The death toll from Michael’s destructive march from Florida to Virginia stood at 17, with just one confirmed death so far in this town of about 1,000 people that took a direct hit from the hurricane and its 155 mph (250 kph) winds last week.
Mayor Al Cathey estimated 250 residents stayed behind when the hurricane struck, and he said he remained hopeful about their fate. He said search-and-rescue teams in the beach town had already combed areas with the worst damage.