Hurricane Michael in Photos: Surveying Michael’s path of destruction poses challenges

An American flag is displayed using sandbags in the coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, which lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.  (Douglas R. Clifford, Times)
An American flag is displayed using sandbags in the coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, which lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle. (Douglas R. Clifford, Times)
Published October 12 2018
Updated October 15 2018

Officials said that a similar number of people were reported missing after Hurricane Irma struck the the Keys last year.

But surveying Michael’s path of destruction poses challenges. The Panhandle is largely populated by small towns, spread across dense, forested areas, an isolated geography that exacerbates post-disaster communications problems when cell phone towers and internet services go out.

Residents assess the damage to their home after Hurricane Michael hit Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 12, 2018. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
A members of Florida National Guard watches the sun rise near Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 12, 2018. The National Guard was called to assist with the road clearance and security after Hurricane Michael. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
Powerlines lean into homes on Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 12, 2018. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
A Virgin Mary sits over a plastic flamingo near debris on Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 12, 2018. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)


Corinna McEwen, 50, and Jack Tully, 43, pose for a portrait near the destroyed portion of Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 12, 2018. Hurricane Michael also destroyed McEwen's business the Tiki Hut. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
A pillow lays in a front yard full of debris on Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 12, 2018. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
People walk around the destroyed portion of Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 12, 2018. Alligator Drive, along with several structures were destroyed in when Hurricane Michael hit the area. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
Rob and Connie Clark, walk their bikes around the destroyed portion of Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 12, 2018. With part of Alligator Drive undrivable, residents have to find alternative ways to get to their homes. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)



A Coast Guard helicopter flies over Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 12, 2018. A large portion of Alligator Drive was destroyed by Hurricane Michael leaving residents unable to drive to their homes. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)


Powerlines lean against the trees on Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 12, 2018. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
\Marsha Greer, 49, of Tallahassee, looks out from the porch of her home Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 in Mexico Beach. Most of Greer's home was spared from Hurricane Michael which made landfall on Wednesday. "We feel so fortunate, so blessed," said Greer. Residents of the small beach town of Mexico Beach began to make their way back to their homes some for the first time after Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday. (Chris Urso, Times)
Lee Majors, 51, a Lt. with the Leon County Sheriffs Office salutes the American Flag after fixing it to a pole Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 in Mexico Beach. "I found the flag laying in the mud nearby. I washed it off in a swimming pool and used part of a door frame and a fishing pole to fasten it," said Majors. (Chris Urso, Times)
A home still smolders Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 in Mexico Beach after it was burnt to the ground. Residents of the small beach town of Mexico Beach began to make their way back to their homes some for the first time after Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday. (Chris Urso, Times)
Jay Faulk, 56, surveys the damage to his home Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 in Mexico Beach. Faulk, 56, is from Macon, Georgia but also has a home along Mexico Beach. "For a short time we were thinking we would lose both homes", said Faulk. (Chris Urso, Times)
Destruction can be seen all over Mexico Beach Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Residents of the small beach town of Mexico Beach began to make their way back to their homes some for the first time after Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday. (Chris Urso, Times)
An unidentified woman walks with small children down a street Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 in Mexico Beach. Residents of the small beach town of Mexico Beach began to make their way back to their homes some for the first time after Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday. (Chris Urso, Times)
Jerry Smith, 68, left, along with his friend Marshall "Bubba" McLemore, 64, right, both of Mexico Beach stand in the bed of their truck at the top of bridge in an attempt to get cellphone signal Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Both said their homes survived but Hurricane Michael devastated the Mexico Beach area after it made landfall Wednesday. (Chris Urso, Times)
Jerry Smith, 68, left, along with his friend Marshall "Bubba" McLemore, 64, right, both of Mexico Beach stand in the bed of their truck at the top of bridge in an attempt to get cellphone signal Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Both said their homes survived but Hurricane Michael devastated the Mexico Beach area after it made landfall Wednesday. (Chris Urso, Times)
A helicopter flies along the coast as a portion of Highway 98 is seen crumbled Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 in Mexico Beach. Residents of the small beach town of Mexico Beach began to make their way back to their homes some for the first time after Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday. (Chris Urso, Times)
Where homes once stood now remains debris and destruction caused by category four Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach on Friday, October 12, 2018. The hurricane made landfall in Mexico Beach on Wednesday, October 10. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
A helicopter flies along the coast as a portion of Highway 98 is seen crumbled Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 in Mexico Beach. Residents of the small beach town of Mexico Beach began to make their way back to their homes some for the first time after Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday. (Chris Urso, Times)
Destruction can be seen all over Mexico Beach Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Residents of the small beach town of Mexico Beach began to make their way back to their homes some for the first time after Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday. (Chris Urso, Times)


Cars sit parked on a bridge while its drivers try to reach a signal on Highway 71 near Port St. Joe on Friday, October 12, 2018. Hurricane Michael has left several thousand residents on Florida's panhandle without power. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
The remains of a burned home stand after being destroyed by category four Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach on Friday, October 12, 2018. The hurricane made landfall in Mexico Beach on Wednesday, October 10. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
Where homes once stood now remains debris and destruction caused by category four Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach on Friday, October 12, 2018. The hurricane made landfall in Mexico Beach on Wednesday, October 10. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
Where homes once stood now remains debris and destruction caused by category four Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach on Friday, October 12, 2018. The hurricane made landfall in Mexico Beach on Wednesday, October 10. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
Damaged from winds from category four Hurricane Michael, farm equipment, silo and a roadside structure are damaged off County Road 286 near Blounstown on Friday, October 12, 2018. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
Having been tossed from winds from category four Hurricane Michael, two boats can be see inland in Mexico Beach on Friday, October 12, 2018. The hurricane made landfall in Mexico Beach on Wednesday, October 10. ((Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
Members from South Florida Task Force search a flattened home destroyed by category four Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach on Friday, October 12, 2018. The crew began searching the area after a neighbor reported an 80 to 85-year-old woman had been living there. The hurricane made landfall on Wednesday, October 10. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
Where homes once stood now remains debris and destruction caused by category four Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach on Friday, October 12, 2018. The hurricane made landfall in Mexico Beach on Wednesday, October 10. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
Where homes once stood now remains debris and destruction caused by category four Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach on Friday, October 12, 2018. The hurricane made landfall in Mexico Beach on Wednesday, October 10. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
The remains of a burned home stand after being destroyed by category four Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach on Friday, October 12, 2018. The hurricane made landfall in Mexico Beach on Wednesday, October 10. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
Where homes once stood now remains debris and destruction caused by category four Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach on Friday, October 12, 2018. The hurricane made landfall in Mexico Beach on Wednesday, October 10. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
Where homes once stood now remains debris and destruction caused by category four Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach on Friday, October 12, 2018. The hurricane made landfall in Mexico Beach on Wednesday, October 10. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
Members from South Florida Task Force search a flattened home destroyed by category four Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach on Friday, October 12, 2018. The crew began searching the area after a neighbor reported an 80 to 85-year-old woman had been living there. The hurricane made landfall on Wednesday, October 10. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
Chunks of broken road damaged by category four Hurricane Michael can be seen in Mexico Beach on Friday, October 12, 2018. The hurricane made landfall in Mexico Beach on Wednesday, October 10. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
Members from South Florida Task Force search a flattened home destroyed by category four Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach on Friday, October 12, 2018. The crew began searching the area after a neighbor reported an 80 to 85-year-old woman had been living there. The hurricane made landfall on Wednesday, October 10. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
Where homes once stood now remains debris and destruction caused by category four Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach on Friday, October 12, 2018. The hurricane made landfall in Mexico Beach on Wednesday, October 10. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)


An American flag is displayed using sandbags in the coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, which lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle. (Douglas R. Clifford, Times)
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times Miami firefighter, Captain Richard Rojas, uses a tree to access a sunken vehicle while searching for survivors or the deceased in the coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, which lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times The El Governor Motel, is a landmark in the coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, which lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times Miami firefighters search for survivors or the deceased in the coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, which lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times The coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times The coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times Miami firefighter, Captain Richard Rojas, searches for survivors or the deceased in the coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, which lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times The coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times Robert Baker Sr., 82, who is paralyzed below the waist, is removed from his son's home by emergency workers on Friday (10/12/18) in the coastal township of Mexico Beach which was devastated when Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times A cellular tower shows wind damage in coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, which lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times Miami firefighter, Captain Richard Rojas, left, searches for survivors or the deceased in the coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, which lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times A sign touts solidarity among residents of the coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, which lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times The water tower in the coastal township of Mexico Beach lay in ruins on Friday (10/12/18). The tower collapsed when Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times A Miami firefighter searches for survivors or the deceased in the coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, which lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times A Miami firefighter searches for survivors or the deceased in the coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, which lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times A sign touts solidarity among residents of the coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, which lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times Robert Baker Jr., 51, sits on the mattress on Friday (10/12/18) which he said he used to float his father above storm surge which rose to the ceiling in the coastal township of Mexico Beach which was devastated when Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times Robert Baker Sr., 82, who is paralyzed below the waist, is removed from his son's home by emergency workers on Friday (10/12/18) in the coastal township of Mexico Beach which was devastated when Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times Robert Baker Sr., 82, who is paralyzed below the waist, is removed from his son's home by emergency workers on Friday (10/12/18) in the coastal township of Mexico Beach which was devastated when Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times Robert Baker Jr., 51, stands on a pile of building materials which lay piled against the home of his parents, Beatrice Baker and Robert Baker Sr., on Friday (10/12/18) in the coastal township of Mexico Beach which was devastated when Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times A childhood picture of Robert Baker Jr. and two of his siblings remains in his childhood home on Friday (10/12/18) in the coastal township of Mexico Beach which was devastated when Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Douglas R. Clifford | Tampa Bay Times Rescue workers use a cadaver dog to sears the coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, which lay devastated on Friday (10/12/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.


Private Juan Vasquez, 19, of Bronson, takes down his lifefighter tent on Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 12, 2018. The National Guard slept along the road in tents, trucks and sleeping bags after they were called to assist with the road clearance and security. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
A members of Florida National Guard watches the sun rise near Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 12, 2018. The National Guard was called to assist with the road clearance and security after Hurricane Michael. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
Members of Florida National Guard patrol Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 11, 2018, one day after Hurricane Michael hit the area. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
Florida Army National Guard Lt. Matt Wagner walks along what is left of Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 11, 2018, one day after Hurricane Michael hit the area. The National Guard descended on the area around 4 p.m. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
Sgt. Nelson Alma, 47, uses the mirror on his vehicle to shave before the work day begins on Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 12, 2018. The National Guard was called to assist with the road clearance and security after Hurricane Michael. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
A house sits in wreckage after Hurricane Michael stormed the area In Spring Creek on October 10, 2018. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
Sgt. Dave Donaldson holds his gun as he patrols Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 12, 2018, after Hurricane Michael hit the area. The National Guard was called to assist with the road clearance and security after Hurricane Michael. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
Sgt. Dave Donaldson, 27, of St. Petersburg monitors the road into Alligator drive in Alligator Point on October 12, 2018. The National Guard was called to assist with the road clearance and security after Hurricane Michael. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
Sgt. Luke Bednar, 28, of Plant City, inspects a washed up engine on Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 11, 2018, one day after Hurricane Michael hit the area. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
Members of Florida National Guard walk back to their trucks after patrolling Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 11, 2018, one day after Hurricane Michael hit the area. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)
Members of Florida National Guard and the Air Force patrol Alligator Drive in Alligator Point on October 11, 2018, one day after Hurricane Michael hit the area. (Tailyr Irvine, Times)













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