The Guardian’s Jamiles Lartey is in Marianna, Florida and has lost communications so far this morning. But he sent SMS messages late last night about what it was like as the eye and the eyewalls of the storm went by. At 11pm ET Wednesday, he wrote:
“It passed right over me. We’re getting the rain bands coming through now. I can’t watch TV at all, no power at the hotel I’m in, but that doesn’t surprise me. But I’ve never experienced anything like this before.”
Amid reports that people near the coast had barricaded themselves inside to stop the wind blowing down doors and walls, NBC’s Lester Holt and his crew were seen putting a mattress over the window of their hotel room. In a room above, which he said belonged to one of his producers, the window blew in, clearly with enough force to scatter shards of glass right across the room. There was no one in the room at the time.
Lartey, 72 miles inland from Mexico Beach, where the direct hit was experienced, had duct tape with him to put over the windows but in the end did not need it. Last night just before 11PM he wrote: “Have heard five to six glass breaks in the last 90 minutes. The roof at the hotel across from me is shredded. The sign, too.”
At times as the wind roared, Lartey had to retreat behind the bed in his hotel room for safety. His window held. “We’re past the hurricane force winds now,” he said, before his communications went out. With day breaking, we’ll bring you more news from Jamiles when we hear from him.
Two dead as Michael heads for Georgia and Carolinas