Hurricane Michael hit the Florida panhandle nearly two weeks ago. Mexico Beach was the hardest hit community, as the cyclone made landfall near the community. For the past two weeks, authorities kept the residents who had evacuated out of the city. Police and Fire Department officials finally let people back into the city today, according to CNN.com.
Access to Mexico Beach is still limited. Because the city needs to be rebuilt and services need to be restored, only insurance adjusters and residents are being allowed inside. Police curfews remain in effect until further notice.
The Red Cross and other relief organizations continue to sort through the debris, and seven people died in South Florida as the quick-moving hurricane moved across the panhandle. People with loved ones residing in vacationing in Southern Florida may not be able to contact family members. Hundreds of phone calls come into the area every day, but contacting individuals is made difficult because of swampy, backwoods terrain make the process more difficult. First responders are asking for people to be patient as services are restored.
Although power outages do not normally knock out cell phone service, an extended blackout can cause towers to become unable to relay signals between stations. Large cell phone providers cannot get into the areas where many of the towers are located to restore service. State crews must clear the roads before the cell phone tower repair crews can get into the more remote areas.
NOAA classified Michael as a category 4 hurricane before it made landfall. Weather Underground meteorologists speculated that NOAA might raise the storm classification during the post analysis phase. For the people who must repair the devastation, it matter little whether the storm is classified as category 4 or category 5. They must rebuild what they have lost.