Death toll rises from Hurricane Michael as Florida takes stock of destruction

QUINCY, Fla. — The death toll from Hurricane Michael has climbed to at least six people, as victims were recovered in the Florida Panhandle, Georgia and North Carolina on Thursday.

More than 24 hours after Michael made landfall, the scale of the destruction is coming into focus. Homes and businesses were blasted off their foundations by 155 mph winds and a massive surge of sea water.

A view from above Mexico Beach showed the devastation. On Thursday, FEMA called the tourist town “ground zero” for the storm.

Neighboring towns along the Panhandle didn’t fare much better. Drone video shows what’s left of the gym at Jinks Middle School in Panama City. The roof and walls ripped away, the same day the volleyball team was scheduled to play their semi-finals.

Nearby, Tyndall Air Force Base remains closed and the entire area evacuated.

On Thursday, staff and emergency workers at Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center transported over 100 patients to regional hospitals, starting with the most critically ill.

Back in the hardest hit sections of East Point, Thursday was cleanup day.  

Keith Millander has lived in his house for his entire life, and said he’s never seen a hurricane quite like this. But he said he also won’t let Michael take him away.

“This is home, I don’t plan to leave,” he said. “Yeah, I ain’t going nowhere. This is it.”

Hurricane Michael hits Florida

Hurricane Michael slammed ashore as a Category 4, the strongest ever to hit the Florida Panhandle

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