Recovery efforts are continuing in the Southeastern US as of Monday, October 15, after Hurricane Michael swept through the region on October 10-11, bringing damaging high winds and heavy rainfall to the Florida Panhandle and other areas of the Southeast. At least 18 people are confirmed dead in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia due to the storm, and the death toll is expected to rise as search-and-rescue operations continue. Over 240,000 homes and businesses were reported to be without power in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia on Monday morning (local time), with most remaining outages reported in Florida; customers in the hardest-hit areas of the Florida Panhandle (e.g. Panama City, Mexico Beach) may be without power and phone service for weeks, according to authorities. Utility companies in Georgia have claimed that power should be restored to most affected people over the coming days. Federal states of emergency have been declared in Florida and Georgia, making federal disaster assistance available to augment state and local recovery efforts.
Lingering transportation disruptions (including flight delays and cancelations, and road transportation disruptions due to debris blocking traffic) are to be expected in affected areas in the near-term as recovery efforts continue. Some airlines, including Delta and KLM, have offered passengers ticketed to fly to, from, or via Panama City (i.e. Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport [ECP]) from October 12 to October 15 an opportunity to rebook or refund flight tickets by Friday, October 19.
Tropical storms and hurricanes are common in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico from June through November, though major hurricanes have historically seldom approached the Florida Panhandle along Michael's path.
Individuals in the affected areas of the Southeastern US are advised to monitor developments to the situation, confirm travel plans, prepare for lingering transportation disruptions and power outages, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities. Contact your airline for more information about potential flight disruptions to and from affected areas.
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