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Hurricane Michael Damages Are Projected at $30 Billion as Relief Efforts Ramp Up

Hurricane Michael barreled into the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday as the strongest storm to hit the U.S. mainland in more than 26 years, wreaking havoc on the area with 155 mph winds, heavy rainfall and powerful storm surge.

By the time it concludes its path through Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas, the hurricane, which made landfall as a Category 4, is projected to cause about $30 billion in damages and lost productivity, according to AccuWeather estimates published Wednesday.

Compounded with the estimated $50 and $60 billion in damages caused by Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas just last month, the economic impact on the region has been staggering. Photos from some of the hardest-hit areas, among them Panama City and Mexico Beach, Fla., show collapsed buildings and shattered storefronts. And just as Florence took a toll on September’s jobs numbers, Michael is likely to put a temporary damper on several economic indicators, making it harder for economists to get an accurate read on national trends.

In the wake of the devastation,Two Ten is encouraging all impacted footwear employees to reach out to the organization.

Two Ten, which has contributed a record amount of funds during the last few years, uses industry donations to fund its major disaster relief efforts. The group provides both immediate financial assistance and additional help as employees get back on their feet and deal with ongoing damage to their houses, cars and other aspects of their daily lives.

The nonprofit Soles4Souls is seeking donations of footwear and clothing from retailers and manufacturers. According to the Nashville, Tenn.-based organization, athletic shoes for all ages and work-appropriate shoes for men and women are requested, along with apparel. It has also set up a relief fund on its website that anyone can contribute to.

Since 2006, the organization has distributed more than 30 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries, and its response efforts are ongoing in the communities impacted by Hurricane Florence.

As of Thursday at noon ET, Hurricane Michael’s death toll had risen to two, and more than 800,000 customers were without power.

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