An 11-year-old girl has been confirmed killed by a falling tree caused by the devastating winds of Hurricane Michael. The incident occurred in Seminole County, Georgia yesterday and involved a tree falling on the family home, according to the Independent.
The tree collapsed at around 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, but the conditions were so severe that first responders could not reach the location until Wednesday night, Seminole County EMA Director Travis Brooks told local station WMAZ. The identity of the girl has not yet been released.
Storm Michael, which the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has now downgraded to a tropical storm, has been described by officials as the “worst storm of the century.” A man in Florida has also died after a falling tree struck his house. Nearly 700,000 homes have been left without power as a result of the severe weather, with some areas experiencing winds of 155 mph. The storm has packed such a punch that a train was reportedly derailed by the sheer force of the winds.
The damage inflicted by the storm to Florida’s infrastructure is already abundantly clear. Across Bay County, a strict “boil water notice” has been enforced, meaning that officials have confirmed a contamination in the area’s water supply systems.
All of Bay County is under a mandatory boil water notice. Use bottled water.
— Bay County (@BOCCPIO) October 11, 2018
In addition, The Florida Highway Patrol has closed down an 80-mile stretch of Interstate 10 so that debris can be cleared from the roadway. Spokesman Eddie Elmore said the action was taken to close off the road “due to extremely hazardous conditions,” as reported by WTVY.
This morning, crews are already out working to restore power and clear debris. Please stay off the roads this morning to let these crews work. Many roads are closed for your safety. Remember do not touch downed power lines or drive into dangerous conditions.
— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) October 11, 2018
“Hurricane Michael is the worst storm the Florida Panhandle has ever seen and one of the worst power storms to ever make landfall in the United States,” Florida Governor Rick Scott said after the storm passed through his state. “We are going to be aggressive with recovery and response over the coming days and will do everything we can to assist our communities that have seen impacts from this devastating storm.”
Scott urged residents “not to do anything foolish,” but instead to stay indoors until the storm has well and truly passed.
“Stay in your house, listen to the locals, be safe,” he said today. “You survived this unbelievable storm.”
Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle as the strongest storm to hit the U.S. since 1969. Its winds were powerful enough to bring down the walls of this middle school gymnasium in Panama City. https://t.co/OD36mMw5Ly pic.twitter.com/myALZjacdQ
— ABC News (@ABC) October 11, 2018
The weather system is currently tracking across Georgia, bringing torrential rains and ferocious winds.
“Michael is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 4in to 7in from eastern Georgia to the southern Mid-Atlantic states and 1in to 3in over the northern Mid-Atlantic states and coastal southern New England,” the NHC noted in a recent update. “Isolated maximum amounts of 9 inches are possible in North Carolina and Virginia. This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods.”
In addition, the National Weather Service has issued tornado warnings for South Carolina, noting that the storm is likely to spout multiple twisters due to its incredible power.
— Jeff Gammons (@StormVisuals) October 10, 2018
In Georgia, some 1,500 national guard troops have been placed on standby to help with relief and rescue efforts while the state’s governor, Nathan Deal, tweeted out the names of several counties over which an emergency has now been declared.
Based on the latest forecast for Hurricane Michael, I have expanded yesterday’s emergency declaration to include an additional 16 counties: Butts, Clarke, Columbia, Elbert, Greene, Jasper, Lamar, Lincoln, McDuffie, Monroe, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Putnam, Taliaferro & Wilkes. pic.twitter.com/zOROuRZvBo
— Governor Nathan Deal (@GovernorDeal) October 10, 2018
President Trump is set to visit Florida “very shortly,” according to the White House, and has been tweeting regularly about the federal resources released in response to the storm.
Florida Highway Patrol Troopers are all en route to the Panhandle, from all across the state of Florida – to help those affected by #HurricaneMichael. If you see them, be sure to shake their hands and say THANK YOU! #LESM pic.twitter.com/rB7uNBudY5
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2018
The lasting impact of the storm on the affected region is likely to be significant. “A Category 4 hurricane has never struck that part of Florida,” said AccuWeather Vice President of Forecasting and Graphics Operations, Marshall Moss. “The coastline will be changed for decades.”
As Hurricane #Michael continues across land, many federal teams are in place along with private sector & voluntary agency partners to support state & local officials with response efforts. This is a major team effort.
— FEMA (@fema) October 10, 2018
Do continue to pray for all those affected by this brutal storm.
This is a developing story. We will update the article as more information continues to come in.