The damage in areas like Panama City was tremendous, but it wasn’t until news and emergency personnel got into the area directly covered by the storm’s eye on Thursday that the incredible impact started to be glimpsed. With seven known dead and hundreds still missing, the devastation of the rapidly intensifying Hurricane Michael is still far from being totaled up, and the path of the storm’s destruction isn’t limited to a few locations along the coast. The high speeds that Michael carried even as it crossed the state line into Georgia, means that areas where hurricane-force winds are almost unknown suddenly came under the heel of a major storm. The result is a furrow of downed trees and destruction that proceeds far inland.
Buzzfeed reports on the town of Bainbridge, Georgia, over 100 miles from the coast, which hadn’t seen a storm like this since it was established.
“It sounded like a train was coming,” Raul Abrigo, 71, said standing outside of his mobile home just south of this 12,000-person city, where 35% of the population lives under the poverty line, according to 2016 census data. That’s over twice the national rate.
Descriptions that pegged Michael as a “ten mile wide tornado” fit how it hit Bainbridge. The town didn’t have the building standards required for Florida homes after Hurricane Andrew, and the low income level means that a lot of the homes were of the mobile variety. Residents describe the town post-Michael as looking like “a war zone” with homes ripped open or crushed under hundreds of uprooted trees. A hundred miles from where Michael roared into Mexico Beach, not a store is open and not a road is passable. The residents of Bainbridge are just a small part of the more than million people who are still without power.
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