Hurricane Michael, the worst storm to strike the U.S. in nearly 50 years, has left unbelievable destruction in its wake after pounding into the Florida Panhandle Wednesday and then tearing through Georgia and the Carolinas.
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The power of the storm, which was a powerful Category 4 at landfall, was evident in dramatic footage that showed demolished homes, submerged neighborhoods, piles of downed trees and buses and even a massive freight train tossed around like toys.
At least 11 people have died from the storm from Florida through Virginia.
As Michael came ashore, ABC News meteorologist Ginger Zee witnessed the terrifying and devastating storm surge in Mexico Beach, Florida, rip a house from its foundation.
The conditions so bad that Zee and her team lost the ability to broadcast.
“All I can see is devastation,” Zee said.
Our ability to broadcast is gone but we are safe. Wanted to let you all know.
— Ginger Zee (@Ginger_Zee) October 10, 2018
On Thursday, Zee posted this photo of the aftermath in Mexico Beach, writing, “Finally have service and will try to tweet the photos I am able to as I know many of you are desperate to know what’s left. Survivors gave me numbers to call and I have. Powerful phone calls telling their loved ones they are alive.”
42nd & 98 in Mexico Beach. Finally have service and will try to tweet the photos I am able to as I know many of you are desperate to know what’s left. Survivors gave me numbers to call and I have. Powerful phone calls telling their loved ones they are alive. pic.twitter.com/9Mw9maGwHH
— Ginger Zee (@Ginger_Zee) October 11, 2018
A few more pics that may help those from Mexico Beach get a hold on what’s what. There is very little salvageable in the whole town. Tonight on @ABCWorldNews with @DavidMuir you’ll hear about the survivors that swam with life preservers through the surge. Unbelievable story. pic.twitter.com/bKCdy8c4Ai
— Ginger Zee (@Ginger_Zee) October 11, 2018
Before Michael hit, law enforcement made a list of everyone in the small Mexico Beach community who stayed behind.
Now, “a tremendous number of people” are “unaccounted for,” Mark Bowen, chief of emergency services in Bay County, which encompasses Mexico Beach, told “Good Morning America” Friday.
Rescuers’ top priority Friday is a “meticulous” search process, he said, “everything from looking for bodies to looking for injured persons.”
“Fire stations were destroyed, police stations were destroyed,” Bowen said. “Public safety agencies are only taking highest priority calls right now … heart attacks, you know, major trauma. … An enormous amount of 911 calls are going unresponded to because we’ve got this priority to search and rescue. So it’s a terrible thing.”
Another photo out of Mexico Beach shows an American flag standing amid piles of debris.
Video from Apalachicola, Florida, shows dozens of abandoned vehicles submerged in water and other destruction left in the wake of the storm.
The winds were strong enough to pierce the windshield of a car in Panama City Beach.
One building, seen in a photo posted by ABC affiliate WBMA from Tuscaloosa, appears to have crumbled beneath the hurricane’s 150 mph winds.
Northwest Florida Daily News reporter Annie Blanks tweeted video footage of seawater flowing inside the Dewey Destin’s seafood restaurant near Mexico Beach.
VIDEO: Serious storm surge in Navarre Beach, approx. 100 miles west of where #HurricaneMichael just made landfall in the Mexico Beach area. This video is from Parker Destin, inside his new Dewey Destin’s restaurant on the beach. pic.twitter.com/ovg7JyXWki
— Annie Blanks (@DailyNewsAnnie) October 10, 2018
The Lanark Fire Department tweeted video of a terrifying storm surge creeping up the shore, bringing seawater into a carport of a beachfront home.
Strong waves overtook a boat ramp to Choctawhatchee Bay at Legion Park, a video posted to Instagram by Lars Rygaard shows.
Richard Fausset, and Atlanta-based reporter for The New York Times, posted a photo of a group of people huddling in a storage closet at his hotel in Panama City.
Fausset wrote that the “whole hotel is shuddering” like an earthquake.
Workers at the Walton County Animal Shelter were seen comforting dogs and cats up for adopting as they ride out the storm.
Michael is the strongest hurricane to strike the Florida Panhandle since the mid-1800s, according to FEMA.
After pummeling Florida, Michael barreled through Georgia. Remnants of the hurricane then continued north, pummeling North Carolina and triggering flash flood warnings in areas like Roanoke, Virginia.
ABC News’ Kelly McCarthy contributed to this report.