PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Emergency officials rushed to evacuate at least 200 patients from a heavily damaged hospital and a large search and rescue operation took shape through the Florida Panhandle on Thursday, a day after the bombing of Hurricane Michael left the chipped houses to their foundations, roads and compromised water systems and hundreds of thousands of people without electricity.
The storm caused extensive damage, and authorities said at least two people were killed. With the expected death toll, one county to the next was a shattered area of sirens, overturned buildings and staggering residents ̵
At the Sacred Heart Bay Medical Center in Panama City, the windows had broken, the walls were stripped to their metal beams and new patients showed up for treatment, only to find entry to the emergency room barred. The other hospital in Panama City, the Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, said it had suspended all services and evacuated patients.
Officials said that a total of four hospitals and 11 nursing facilities were closed in Florida. A nursing facility in Georgia has also been closed.
Here are the latest developments:
• A man died Wednesday after a tree crashed on his home in Greensboro, northwest of Tallahassee, said Gadsden County Sheriff's Office . WMAZ-TV reported that a girl died in Seminole County, southwest Georgia, when her house was hit with debris.
• The storm landed on Wednesday afternoon near Mexico Beach, Florida, just under category 5 and was not downgraded to a tropical storm until midnight, once it had crossed the Panhandle and southwest Georgia Like a hurricane.
• Much of the Florida Panhandle coast, including Panama City and Mexico Beach, has been left in ruins. The images from there showed strips of crushed debris in which once houses and structures flooded up to their roofs; the streets were blocked by branches of felled trees and impossible tangles of power lines.
• At 11 on Thursday, Michael was about 35 miles south-southeast of Charlotte, NC, heading northeast with sustained wind speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. The storm is moving relatively quickly, at 23 minutes a day, and is expected to accelerate as it crosses the Carolinas on Thursday and jumps into the sea by Friday. C lecco on the map below to see the path projected by the storm.
• Since Thursday morning, more than 800,000 customers have lost power in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, according to those electricity providers. In some Florida counties like Franklin and Leon, almost all customers were powerless.
• "The big problem with this hurricane was tremendous power," President Trump said on Thursday, adding that "we have not seen destruction so long."
• Michael surprised the nation, escalating rapidly from a tropical storm to a large hurricane in just two days and leaving little time for preparation. Read more on why it has strengthened so quickly here.
Damaged hospitals are evacuating patients
Bay Medical Center Sacred Heart, a 300-bed hospital in the heart of Panama City, Florida, was a tumultuous tumult on Thursday morning. Hurricane Michael had bombed the center, breaking windows, damaging the roofs and stripping outside some buildings. The signage was scattered in the streets. Doctors, nurses and staff members wandered outside, some cried, others sought cell service.
Bay Medical was one of two hospitals in Panama – the other was the Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center – which had been damaged during the storm. Both were evacuating the patients.
Bay Medical stated in a statement that about 200 patients would be evacuated, including 39 ICU patients who will be transferred first to hospitals outside the affected area. About 1,500 people had taken refuge in the hospital, according to the statement.
But the residents of the devastated city were still presenting themselves for medical assistance. A man named Wain Hall, 23, stood with his bicycle, yelling at a security guard from the barred emergency room entrance.
"I have a wounded head, so I refuse medical treatment here?" he said, lifting his baseball cap to reveal his tangled, blood-soaked hair. "I lost everything and everyone keeps vulgarizing us."
The hospital was in poor condition to accommodate patients. Staff members said the hospital had partial electricity from its generators; there was no water and the toilets were filling up. The windows were broken. One staff member said the fourth floor was flooded, perhaps from leaky windows or damage to the roof. He had tied plastic bags on his shoes and on the legs of his scrubs.
Dr. Brian Roake, the head of the department of anesthesiology, was among those who rode the hurricane in the hospital. "It was like hell," he said.
Inside, said Dr. Roake, the worst situation was in the intensive care unit, on the upper floors of a new glass tower. The windows are double glazed, but the exterior windows began to burst on Wednesday afternoons.
There was a rush to move around 40 patients – patients undergoing post-cardiopathic surgery, critical septic patients, patients with respiratory failure in ventilators – safer neighborhoods on the lower floors in the center of the & rsquo; building
Now the task was to move the patients. "They are about to take them to other hospitals – in Pensacola, wherever they can take them," he said.
Even a nursing home in Panama suffered damage to the roof of one of its wings, but all the residents were OK, said Rodney C. Watford, the facility's administrator. He said the center, the Clifford Chester Sims State Veterans Nursing Home, was operating from a generator, which was powering the air conditioning to the building.
Hurricane Michael in Photos
Photographers Gabriella Angotti-Jones, Scott McIntyre, Johnny Milano and Eric Thayer are on the ground in Florida covering the storm for the New York Times. See their images here.
"Extensive Damage" at an Air Force Base
Tyndall Air Force Base, straddling a narrow strip of land that juts out into the Gulf, a dozen miles south of Panama City "suffered extensive damage," said a post on the Facebook page of the base.
The winds at the top of 130 miles blow trees down, tear down power lines, tear roofs from buildings and tear off a static screen of an F-15 fighter jet at the base entry from the foundations, launched in air where he landed upside down.
Fortunately, "there were no injuries reported on Tyndall at this time," said the Facebook post.
The base, which is just nine feet above sea level, houses a series of hangars and a runway, as well as tree-lined neighborhoods for around 600 members of the aviation personnel. The base hosts a number of jets, including F-22 Raptor stealth fighters, which cost well over $ 100 million each. The base commander ordered all the jets to fly to the inside bases at the start of the week.
Video footage taken from a helicopter and published on Twitter by commercial meteorologist Accuweather, showed extensive damage.
The roof of the largest hangar of the base, which was used to store jets during the weakest storms, was skinned to its steel beams, revealing at least three small aircraft at the time. inside, covered with debris. Although the video did not reveal large amounts of stagnant water near the flight line, it showed stripped roofs of several other buildings that surrounded the hangar, perforated garage doors and overturned cars.
It is not clear on Thursday if the track was usable. The grassroots officials said they were evaluating the damage. It was not known when the staff would be able to return.
Other airbases along the coast, as well as the Navy base in Panama City, have resumed limited operations.
Emergency squads are heading towards the hardest hit areas
Governor Scott said Thursday that Michael left a vast trail of devastation and that the authorities have turned their immediate attention to the rescue efforts.
"We are deploying a huge wave of response, and these efforts are already underway," said Mr. Scott. "Help is coming by air, land and sea."
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said he heard from local authorities that they described extensive damage. "These are not people prone to hyperbole," Rubio told CNN. "The city of Panama is catastrophic damage." Someone told me: "Mexico Beach is gone".
The other areas of greatest concern were the eastern areas of Panama City, Apalachicola and the Tyndall air base, Brock said. Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Mr. Long said he was equally concerned about the communities in Southwest Georgia, which received category 2 wind speeds, due to the large number of mobile homes in that part of the state. "We are always concerned about the trees that fall on houses built and mobile homes," he said.
Mr. For a long time it was expected that the search and rescue process would be challenging, given all the fallen trees, debris and power lines knocked down. in the storm it would increase when the crews would reach places where people did not evacuate.
"People do not live to tell the story of the hurricane," he said.
with the inhabitants to stay out of the way while the crews tried to clean up the debris and the emergency workers got busy for the affected areas. They asked people to avoid the broken power lines and not to drive through flooded areas. They urged residents and visitors to keep emergency telephone lines open and, in some areas, to boil water or use bottled water. They told them to place the generators at least 15 feet from the houses and stay home.
A missed call, and then nothing. A sister cares about her family.
Like many people in the hurricane-ravaged family, Megan McCall is trying to reach a family member.
At 6:30 pm Wednesday, Mrs. McCall missed a call from her brother, Jeff McCall, who was trying to ride Hurricane Michael with his family in Alford, Florida, about 40 miles to north of Panama City.
He has no more news from him.
Ms. McCall, who lives in Jacksonville, tried to address. At the beginning the phone will ring, but now it is dead.
Before the call was lost, a family friend who spoke to his brother said the situation was terrible: a three-inch crack in the wall was letting water enter the house. Mr. McCall, 43, was in the basement, with his wife, Kristi McCall, the 6-year-old daughter, the 10-year-old son and his parents.
Now, Megan McCall, 30, is trying to reach someone who might be able to control the family at home on the edge of Compass Lake.
"All the streets in the area where my brother was standing are impassable," Mrs. McCall said. "I have no idea what the conditions are in which the house is now." A neighbor sent her a picture of the house, which showed the roof still on the building.
Ms. McCall said he had thought about calling the police but he did not want to panic.
"I'm glued to my phone hoping someone's mail will lead me to something that leads me to something that brings me to someone who has access there," he said.
The Carolinas, hit by Florence, prepare for Michael
Residents are still recovering from the devastating floods caused by the hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, tiredly waiting for the winds and pushing the rain now – Tropical Storm Michael.
As the storm intersects the runway that Florence hurried to last month, Michael should drop from one to four inches of rain on still-saturated ground. Several areas are under warning of rapid flooding. Unlike Florence, the rapid movement of this storm should limit the long and soaking rain that has flooded the coastal plain of the Carolinas.
"The people of North and South Carolina passed us," said Mr. Long, FEMA administrator. . "This will not help."
The National Weather Service in Charleston issued a coastal flood warning for the Carolina coast and strong winds had already been reported in places like Myrtle Beach and Conway, a city particularly hit by flooding from hurricane Florence. It is expected that the tides along the coast of Carolina will fall three feet above the normal in some areas
It is expected that Michael's worst rain will fall more heavily in a 'ride between Interstates 85 and 95 through the North and South Carolina and Virginia.  Richard Fausset reported from Panama City; Patricia Mazzei of Tallahassee, Florida; and Alan Blinder from Atlanta. The report was provided by Chris Dixon of Conway, S.C .; Melissa Gomez, Mihir Zaveri and Matthew Haag of New York; and Daniel Victor of Hong Kong.