Donald Trump Witnesses Hurricane Michael Devastation in Florida

Minnie Murray
October 16, 2018

President Trump is set to visit Florida and areas affected by Hurricane Michael on Monday. Rich Scott is left.

Today, President Trump plans to visit both Florida and Georgia to see how much damage has been done.

The president and first lady Melania Trump arrived at Robins Air Force Base on Monday afternoon.

The president also traveling to Georgia, where he participated in a briefing in Macon with federal and state officials.

Trump marveled at the destructive power of the storm, noting that some houses were swept off the foundation by flooding and powerful winds.

Dozens of people remained missing on Sunday in Florida Panhandle communities have been reduced to ruins.

The president said someone described Hurricane Michael to him as being "like a very wide, extremely wide, tornado". After landing in Panama City, he visited Lynn Haven, another hard-hit city. People there were signing up for temporary housing and picking up clothing, diapers, water and other supplies.

He also marveled at how massive trees were "just ripped out of the earth". "And I want to thank the first lady", he said.

The storm that ravaged Florida's Panhandle left incredible destruction stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the state border, but so far getting a firm grasp on how many died is proving somewhat elusive.

Gee fled her home near Panama City with her two children on Thursday but was concerned about her aunt and uncle.

Debris strewn over streets in Mexico Beach, October 11.

Reporters trailed the president in a separate helicopter. A water tower was visible completely tipped over.

Some 30 km west of Mexico Beach, the school gym of Panama City has become the symbol of the devastation caused by Michael in this Florida town, where residents began to return on Saturday to search for their belongings among the rubble. From left are FEMA director Brock Long, resident, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Trump, and the first lady.

"Every time I've called, he's come through", Scott said of Trump.

Trump praised Rick Scott, the Florida governor, for his response to the storm, saying: "The job they've done is Florida has been incredible". He told Scott: "You're a great governor".

"The next phase is recovery", said Ignatius Carroll, a Miami fire captain who leads a Federal Emergency Management Agency rescue team. Power crews were working to restore power. Thousands of residents in the affected areas still lack electricity.

At heavily damaged Tyndall Air Force Base, damage to buildings was readily visible. At the White House, on his way to Marine One, he was pressed on the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

Officials warn the death toll from the storm is likely to rise as search and rescue teams from across the country work to gain access to the hardest hit areas.

With top sustained winds of 155 miles per hour (250 kph), Michael hit the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale on Wednesday.

750,000 homes and businesses continue to be without power in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia.

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