The picture on the right came to mind immediately after seeing early reports out of Michael - I knew I had posted it in the early days of this blog, 2010. The point of that post is that people talk about a "TEOTWAWKI" event like an EMP, a monster solar flare, the magnetic poles reversing or even a Screaming Meteor of Death, but something like this is many times more likely, and for all the people whose homes used to be on the scattered concrete pads visible in those pictures, this was the end of the world as they knew it.
Hurricanes are part of the forces that shape the planet. Beaches are not permanent. If you decide to live on "shifting sands", you may outlive your house and you may not. Either way, exactly when your house is no longer there is not your decision.
The official death toll for Michael was three a little while ago. The AP article (first link) says:
State officials said 285 people in Mexico Beach had defied a mandatory evacuation order ahead of Michael. More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were ordered or urged to clear out as Michael closed in.As we said Wednesday night, the storm intensified so radically, so fast that they may have thought it was too late to get out of town Wednesday morning. There's really only two ways out of Mexico Beach: the best is probably US98 to 231 and then I-10; the other is a back road, 386. Being stuck in traffic or broken down in a car isn't much better than being in one of those houses - probably worse. Searches are ongoing, but I think three fatalities is low by quite a bit. Maybe low by a couple of orders of magnitude.