The Wall Street Journal: Hurricane Michael leaves trail of devastation; hundreds of thousands without power

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The remnants of Hurricane Michael plowed through the Southeast U.S. on Thursday after killing at least two people, demolishing homes and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of customers a day after devastating the Florida Panhandle.

Michael was a tropical storm as it crossed the Carolinas, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm hit the Florida coastline near Mexico Beach on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane, the strongest to hit the Panhandle in 167 years of record-keeping, and one of the most intense to ever make landfall in the U.S.

The storm packed 155-mph winds when it came ashore, and pushed a wall of ocean water into the Florida coast. People there woke up to “unimaginable destruction,” including homes, businesses, roads and infrastructure that were wiped out, Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday.

“This hurricane was an absolute monster, and the damage left in its wake has yet to be fully understood,” Scott said during a news conference. He said he was heading to Panama City and Mexico Beach, near where Michael made landfall. “Today the top focus is search and rescue,” the governor said.

The scale of the damage was just coming into view early Thursday. Aerial footage from Mexico Beach, a community of about 1,200, showed a scene of almost complete devastation, with street after street of buildings reduced to rubble.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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