TAMPA (FOX 13) - The images were already jaw-dropping, but the extent of Hurricane Michael's impact to the Florida Panhandle is becoming more detailed now that the federal government is publishing aerial photos taken during recent survey flights.
Imagery posted on an interactive map was taken by NOAA’s Remote Sensing Division to support homeland security and emergency response needs after the storm. The photos – taken during long sweeps by airplanes starting on Thursday – show a street-level view of a 250-mile stretch of the Gulf Coast's barrier islands, from Gulf Shores in Alabama to Carrabelle in Florida.
LINK: See NOAA’s damage map
The imagery shows the near total destruction of Mexico Beach and heavy damage to nearby Tyndall Air Force Base. Much of that area has been dramatically documented already, but the map also shows the greater Panama City area. Heavily damaged homes can be seen in neighborhoods several miles inland.
Further west, where the damage is not was bad, beachgoers can be seen enjoying the sand and surf.
NOAA says the website will be updated as more flights take place.
Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday as a powerful Category 4 storm, still intensifying as it came ashore with 155-mph winds and a 9-foot storm surge. At least 11 deaths have been blamed on the storm.
NOAA’s interactive damage map can be found at https://storms.ngs.noaa.gov/storms/michael/index.html. Note that it may be easier to navigate the site from a desktop computer instead of a mobile device.
More details: https://storms.ngs.noaa.gov/