Hurricane Michael leaves Florida’s main psych hospital cut off. Helicopters drop aid.

The oldest and largest psychiatric hospital in Florida was left in the dark and inaccessible as Hurricane Michael carved its path across the Panhandle, knocking out power and ripping buildings to shreds.

The storm’s eyewall passed right over Chattahoochee, leaving the hospital “entirely cut off,” state emergency officials said Thursday. The facility was not evacuated ahead of the storm.

Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee, which had 1,400 people staying inside, was left with no way to communicate with first responders or the outside world.

The hospital had backup power and water systems that were activated before the hurricane hit, Department of Children and Families spokesman David Frady said Wednesday afternoon. Staff were “staying at the facility and are well stocked with emergency supplies,” he said.

But by Thursday morning, rescue groups were dropping pallets of food and water to the facility via helicopter.

Nearly 40 percent of all state mental health patients live at the facility in rural Chattahoochee. Some of the patients are civilly committed, and others either have been ordered into treatment there by a criminal-court judge or are facing criminal charges.

According to state emergency officials, there was no security breach at the facility.

This story will be updated.

Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau reporter Elizabeth Koh contributed to this report