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USC closes campus ahead of Hurricane Michael

12 October 2018

Eight ships from Tampa, Miami and Galveston in Texas had to be re-routed from the path of Michael, but all three ports are operating normally again and each of Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line say passengers for the next cruises will not be affected.

"It's like our lives are gone, everything we have is gone now", he said. "So many families have lost everything", he said.

Hurricane Michael struck on Wednesday with winds of 250km/h. But it moved fast and intensified quickly, and emergency authorities lamented that many people ignored the warnings.

"We've got a massive flow of people going down to coast to try to be helpful", Scott told CBSN's Vladimir Duthiers and Meg Oliver on Thursday.

An 80-mile stretch of Interstate 10, the main east-west route along the Florida Panhandle - the northwestern stretch of the state which bore the brunt of Michael's strength - was closed because of debris.

Hurricane Michael's violence was visible on Thursday in shattered Florida coastal towns, where rows of homes were ripped from foundations and roofs were peeled off schools by the near-record-force storm blamed for seven deaths.

Trees were downed in Panama City buildings flattened, boats and electrical cables scattered.

While search-and-rescue teams were having difficulty reaching some areas on Thursday, the extent of the damage is slowly becoming clear with the before and after images showing the severe destruction. "You want to check on things and begin the recovery process", Mr Scott said.

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Crawford County officials said a possible tornado damaged five homes near Roberta. A metal carport was picked up by the wind and crashed through the roof of a structure, hitting the girl's head, said Travis Brooks, the county's emergency management director.

A man works though the remains of an apartment in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

Prior to making landfall in the USA, flooding from Michael had already led to at least 13 deaths in Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador.

Officials said more than 400,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in Florida and Governor Scott said almost 20,000 utility workers had been deployed to restore power.

Around 6000 are thought to have sought refuge in official shelters, mainly in Florida.

The ultimate effect of Michael will take weeks to assess, but initial reports likened the ravages to that of Hurricane Andrew, which hit south Florida in 1992 causing $25billion in damages and took nearly two years to rebuild from.

In North Carolina, still struggling to recover after Florence, up to 152mm of rain had fallen in the mountains by morning, and people had to be rescued from cars trapped in high water.

USC closes campus ahead of Hurricane Michael