Photos have surfaced of the destruction that is left behind after the hurricane-rattled Florida Panhandle reels in the wake of destruction. The agricultural damage alone is forecast to top $1.3 billion with a majority of that estimate in Georgia as cotton and pecans are hardest-hit. Don’t tell that to the chickens, however, who’ve been estimated to have suffered a loss in excess of two million. That’s a lot of wasted food, but not the only waste.
Autoblog reader Jose Perez Jr. lives only 20 minutes away from Panama City and the sight he was met with was described in three words; “The devastation is unreal.”
The local dealerships in the area were impacted in varying degrees as their proximity from ground zero varied; some lots were littered with new inventory that was helpless to avoid a beating by the 155 MPH winds. Hurricane Michael slammed into the shore with enough force to classify as one of the most powerful landfilling hurricanes in recorded history. Although that’s accounting for one of many variables in which many other recorded storms have overshadowed, the peak sustained winds hit with enough force to cause catastrophic damage to everything in its path regardless.
Well, almost everything. Isolated pockets of heavily-hit sectors offered glimmers of hope in the form of small miracles as a downed light pole (pictured) came crashing down through the windshield and roof of two brand new Dodge Chargers while a gray Chrysler sits calmly amidst the destruction, untouched but with less than an inch between the downed pole and it’s gleaming paint.
Not all were so lucky, however, a Weather Channel report by Sean Breslin published hours ago reports the latest death toll at 18 victims; eight in Florida, three in North Carolina, one in Georgia and six in Virginia.
To actually determine the estimated inventory that has been completely or partially destroyed will take some time and a lot of processing. The dealerships, like the rest of the community, will have a ways to go to make a full recovery, but many remain optimistic in the face of one of the most destructive storms they’ve personally lived through.