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Michael reached a record breaking minimum central pressure of millibars with sustained winds of mph, according to the National Weather Service. Tyndal Air Force base in Panama City recorded wind speeds up to mph with a pressure of mb according to the National Weather Service in Tallahassee. Panama City, a small city of about 37, people that sits a few miles east of Panama City Beach on St.

Andrews Bay, was decimated by the monster storm. The eye wall of Hurricane Michael encompassed the city as it slammed into the coast October 10 destroying homes, businesses and lives.


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Finding a certain home or neighborhood can be difficult for even life-long residents. Houses hide behind piles of trees. Missing street signs leave neighbors disoriented and confused. The barren landscape resembles a bomb testing site.

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Powerless residents struggle to find gasoline to power generators. Residents plead for help from FEMA, insurance companies and their local government officials, while cleaning up the remains of their homes. They know the rebuilding process will be an arduous trial of strength, one that will test them physically and emotionally.

In Parker, a neighborhood 10 minutes from the base, families work to pull year-old trees from rooftops and share supplies such as clean water. Vanessa Hearndon, 18, lives in Parker with her parents on 9 th Street. Her parents have set up a make shift pallet for sleeping in the back of their van. Hearndon said her family just recently started renting their home — it was a step up for them— and they were working on renovating the house before Michael hit.

Neighbor Kim Hill, right, checks in on Faith Smith. Faith has never been through hurricane. Michael was her first, after moving to Panama City from the North. The Category 4 cyclone destroyed the local grocery store she works at, and without a job or a home, she may have to move.

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She said the storm and the weeks that followed have been terrifying. Barry has lived through some rough hurricanes, but said Michael was the worst one yet. Corn , cassava , plantains , and bananas are staple crops wherever land is developed. It is the largest national park in Central America. The Gap can be transited by off-road vehicles attempting intercontinental journeys. The expedition intended to claim attention for the Panamerican highway, after an International Conference in Chile, in They traveled a great deal of the distance up the vast Atrato River.

In , a team of three Chevrolet Corvairs and several support vehicles departed from Panama. After days they reached the Colombia Border with two Corvairs, the third having been abandoned in the jungle. This was the first crossing by a standard two wheel drive passenger car. It has been documented by a Jam Handy Productions film along with an article in Automobile Quarterly magazine Volume 1 number 3, from the fall of The Expedition crossed the Atrato Swamp in Colombia with the cars on special inflatable rafts that were carried in the backs of the vehicles.

However, they received substantial support from the British Army. The Hundred Days of Darien , a book written by Russell Braddon in , also chronicles this expedition. The first fully overland wheeled crossing others used boats for some sections of the Gap was that of British cyclist Ian Hibell , who rode from Cape Horn to Alaska between and Hibell took the "direct" overland south-to-north route, including an overland crossing of the Atrato Swamp in Colombia.

Hibell completed his crossing of the Gap accompanied by two New Zealand cycling companions who had ridden with him from Cape Horn, but neither of these continued with Hibell on to Alaska.

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The first motorcycle crossing was by Robert L. Webb in March Another four-wheel drive crossing was in — by Mark A. Smith and his team. They travelled many miles up the Atrato River on barges. Smith has released his book, Driven by a Dream , which documents the crossing. This crossing is documented in the Guinness Book of Records. From Yaviza he first followed the Loren Upton team but would go solo just before Pucuru, hiring his own guides. In the s, the gap was briefly joined by ferry service, provided by Crucero Express , but this company ceased operations in There have been several notable crossings by foot.

In , George Meegan crossed the gap on a similar journey.

Darién Gap

He too started in Tierra del Fuego and eventually ended in Alaska. His biography, The Longest Walk , describes the trip and includes a page chapter on his foray through the Gap. In , as a part of his Goliath Expedition —a trek to forge an unbroken footpath from the tip of South America to the Bering Strait and back to his home in England— Karl Bushby UK crossed the gap on foot, using no transport or boats, from Colombia to Panama. Accompanied by 11 and 13 year old Lico and Juan from Paya, the survivors report several big trees falling around them and river levels rising up to 3 meters that night.

In evangelist Arthur Blessitt traversed the gap while carrying a foot wooden cross, a trek confirmed by Guinness World Records as part of "the longest round the world pilgrimage" for Christ. Traveling alone with a machete plus one backpack crammed with water bottles, a hammock, Bible, notepad, lemon drops, and Blessitt's signature Jesus stickers saying "Smile! God Loves you", Blessitt describes his experience in a book, The Cross , and in a full-length movie of the same name. These trips used a combination of whatever transport was available: These groups were made up of male and female participants from any number of nationalities and age groups, and were led by experienced trek leaders.

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  • Furthermore, combatants from Colombia even entered Panama, occupied some Panamanian jungle villages and kidnapped or killed inhabitants and travelers. This route may entail flying to Ecuador taking advantage of that nation's liberal visa policy , and attempting to cross the gap on foot.