The Latest: Trump and first lady arrive in Florida

MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on recovery efforts after Hurricane Michael (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have arrived in Florida to survey damage in the state as well in Georgia from Hurricane Michael.

Trump landed Monday at Eglin Air Force Base near Valparaiso. The White House has not identified the communities Trump will visit.

The president tweeted before leaving the White House that he will meet with law enforcement and government officials aiding the massive recovery effort. He said “maximum effort is taking place, everyone is working very hard.”

The Florida Panhandle took a direct hit from Michael. More than 190,000 homes and businesses in Florida remain without electricity, along with about 120,000 homes and businesses in Georgia.

The death toll currently stands at 17.


11 a.m.

Florida officials are criticizing telecommunications carrier Verizon for taking too long to get cellphone service restored for parts of Florida’s Panhandle.

Gov. Rick Scott late Sunday mentioned that residents in coastal Bay County were still “waiting” on Verizon while AT&T was working in the county hit hard by Hurricane Michael.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis expressed his frustration at Verizon on Twitter on Monday. He said that the company had no service in Bay County for six days and that “we need the same response” from Verizon as “we have seen from our electric companies.”

Patronis is from Bay County and his family owns a restaurant in Panama City Beach.

Verizon responded back on Twitter telling Patronis it was working “urgently” and that the company “knows how important the ability to connect is, especially when storms happen.”


11 a.m.

President Donald Trump is heading to Florida and Georgia to view the destruction left by Hurricane Michael.

Trump says in a tweet that he and first lady Melania Trump are going to review hurricane damage and visit with Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel and other officials.

The president’s tweet adds that “maximum effort is taking place” and that “everyone is working very hard.”


1 a.m.

Upon touring the damage in several towns along Florida’s Panhandle, Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long called the destruction left by Hurricane Michael some of the worst he’s ever seen.

On Monday, President Donald Trump plans to visit Florida and Georgia and see the recovery effort for himself. Trump declared a state of emergency for Georgia late Sunday.

In hurricane-flattened Mexico Beach, crews cleared debris Sunday as the mayor held out hope for the 250 or so residents who may have tried to ride out the storm.

The death toll from Michael’s destructive march from Florida to Virginia stood at 17, with just one confirmed death in Mexico Beach. Mayor Al Cathey said it would be a “miracle” if the town’s death toll stays at one after it took a direct hit from the hurricane.

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