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PANAMA CITY (CBSMiami) — What a difference a day makes. One day after Hurricane Michael ravaged Florida’s Panhandle, the sun is out and it is a beautiful day when looking up into the sky. Looking down at the ground, it is a much different story.
Florida emergency officials say the devastation is so massive that it remains unclear if people who ignored evacuation orders were killed.
Survivors like the Patel family, do not have much left.
“Everything that we saved is gone,” said one member of the family. “It just looks like there was no second floor.” The Patel’s have lived in Panama City for six years. There isn’t much they can salvage either. They only have food for about a week.
“We packed part of our clothes and left. That’s all we have.”
The Patel’s neighbors were not home and it is unclear how their small kids are doing. The walls of their home were ripped off as the Category 4 hurricane hit the area as the strongest storm to ever impact the Panhandle.
The intense blanket of wind and rain damaged nearly everything in its path, making it tough to navigate through neighborhoods. Downed trees and power lines are blocking streets.
Crews in Bay County are trying to clear roadways as they start assessing the damage.
Residents are in shock and concerned about looters.
“We have no water or power,” said Amber, a Panama City resident.
Besides trying to rebuild, Amber is hoping not to lose what little she has left.
“Last night people were in the bushes talking about which car to steal, which car to break into.”
Near Amber’s home, the front door of a convenience store was shattered and people were spotted carrying food and drinks to their cars.
As for the Patel family, they will lean on community leaders to get food and service from non-profits.
“We have no idea what do,” said the Patel family member.
South Floridians know how important local news is during events like this but local news station in the Panhandle are shut down because of damage. Some of the employees do not have places to live. Residents are depending on a radio station to get information to them and that is if they have portable radios for power.