• Image Credit: Autoblog
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The Florida Panhandle has shifted into rescue mode in the wake of Hurricane Michael, which slammed onto shore on Wednesday as one of the most powerful storms in U.S. history, packing winds of up to 155 miles per hour and inundating towns with flooding from storm surge and heavy rains. Officials fear the death toll of 12 is set to rise.

Automotive dealerships in Panama City and elsewhere appear to have sustained considerable damage, based on these images sent by an avid Autoblog reader, Jose Perez Jr. "I live only 20 minutes away from Panama City and I went down there today after Hurricane Michael struck last night," he wrote. "The devastation is unreal."

Around 1.5 million homes and businesses were without power from Florida to Virginia as of Friday morning, according to utility companies. Ted Smith, president of the Florida Automobile Dealers Association, told Automotive News that he did not know the full scope of dealership damage because of power outages and widespread tree damage. He planned to find office facilities, generators and other ways to help affected dealers so they could quickly reopen for business.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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