Florida Governor Rick Scott on Thursday said it’s far too early to understand how much damage Hurricane Michael inflicted on the state, but warned residents to be careful even after the storm has moved.
The Category 4 hurricane touched down near Mexico Beach early Thursday afternoon, and is now moving into South and North Carolina, as a tropical storm.
Two deaths have been reported to date: One in Florida, and one in Georgia. A man in the city of Greensboro in north Florida’s Gadsden County died after a tree crashed down into his home.
At a news conference Thursday in Tallahassee, Scott warned residents not to get back on the road to check on their property, especially in the hardest hit areas of the storm. That would include Highway 98 between Apalachicola and Mexico Beach. In some cases, Scott said, it would be physically impossible to drive on those roads.
“I know you just want to go home, you want to check on things, and begin the recovery process,” Scott said, but patience and understanding are needed at this time.
In other updates:
/The Florida Department of Transportation and Florida Highway Patrol have closed a portion of I-10 in both directions in the Panama City/Mexico Beach area, as crews continue to clear debris there.
/Scott said that two hospitals in Panama City have shut down operations.
/Though Florida’s capital of Tallahassee was not severely impacted, local officials said that more than 200 roads are filled with debris.
/More than 400,000 homes and businesses do not have power in Florida at this time.
/More than 3,500 Florida National Guard members are helping in search and rescue efforts, aided by workers from nine other states.