How NJ is helping Florida, Georgia after Hurricane Michael devastation
MEXICO BEACH, Fla. — More help from New Jersey is on the way to help with the recovery from the devastation from Hurricane Michael.
The storm, one of the most powerful ever to make landfall in the United States, has left damage stretching from the Florida Panhandle into Alabama and Georgia and killed 14 people. It is estimated to have caused up to $3 billion worth of damage.
Mexico Beach, a town of about 1,000 people, was nearly obliterated by Michael's storm surge and devastating 155 mph winds when the Category 4 hurricane made landfall Wednesday. Some barely escaped as homes were pushed off their foundations and whole neighborhoods became submerged.
Emergency officials said they had completed an initial "hasty search" of the devastation on Friday looking for the living or the dead, and had begun more careful inspections of thousands of ruined buildings. Members of New Jersey's Task Force 1 expect to be involved with search operations on Saturday, according to spokeswoman Laura Connolly.
A team left on Tuesday and rode out the storm at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. They've joined a group that left later in the week and are staged together at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton, Florida, about an hour away from Mexico Beach.
More than 1 million people are without power and face the possibility it will not be restored for weeks, according to CNN.
Task Force 1 sent 25 industrial generators to Georgia to restore power temporarily and another 30 members of the team. The convoy of flatbed trucks left Wall on Friday afternoon and drove all night to arrive on Saturday morning.
Eight members of the New Jersey All Hazards Management Team also arrived in Georgia on Saturday to help with the logistics of federal resources.
"Thousands of items and tons of resources are coming in and out of the state. Since we have such experience with that from Superstorm Sandy and Puerto Rico and all the other disasters they asked if our team could come down," Connolly said.
The American Red Cross New Jersey Region deployed 17 trained disaster workers to help shelter, feed and support people affected by Hurricane Michael at the 37 shelters in Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
Additional volunteers continue to deploy as needed, according to regional Red Cross spokeswoman Diane Concannon. Since last month, the New Jersey Region has deployed more than 95 disaster workers to the Carolinas to help with Hurricane Florence relief efforts.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report