Hurricane Michael Death Toll Rises as Rescuers Search for Survivors

14 October, 2018, 06:01 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Hurricane Michael Death Toll Rises as Rescuers Search for Survivors

Thousands of people in central and southern Virginia were still waiting for people to be restored on Saturday morning, after the remnants of Hurricane Michael moved up the east coast with winds of up to 50 miles per hour.

"Homes are gone, businesses are gone", said Florida Governor Rick Scott.

By Friday, two days after Michael plowed into Florida's Panhandle as one of the fiercest hurricanes ever to strike the USA mainland, there was no official word on the number unaccounted for in beachfront communities affected by the storm.

One body was found in the wreckage of a home in the town on Friday, but teams planned to be back out to comb through the debris on Saturday.

At least eight people, including Sweet, have died in Florida. In the storm's wake lay crushed and flooded buildings, shattered lives and at least 15 deaths that state and local officials have linked to the storm, with authorities investigating another three deaths. Jackson County Emergency Management Agency Director Rodney Andreasen said one of the fatalities in Jackson County occurred when a man was struck by a tree in Alford. FEMA administrator Brock Long said Thursday, "You fix the power, you solve a lot of problems".

"I hope we don't see that climb dramatically, but. we still haven't gotten into some of the hardest-hit areas", he said.

Homes destroyed by Hurricane Michael are shown in this aerial photo Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Mexico Beach, Florida.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said two people - a man and a woman - were killed in McDowell County when their vehicle hit a large tree that had fallen on the road. Residents are walking through piles of debris, some assessing the damage and others trying to find food.

Miami Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban, leader of a search-and-rescue unit that went into the flattened town, said: "We have one confirmed deceased and are working to determine if there are others". The destruction in Bay County has largely been from wind damage, as opposed to the flooding during Katrina. "It's like a war zone", he said. "Literally overnight it went from a Category 1 or 2 to a Category 4, nearly borderline 5". This is pretty extensive, the damage.

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Some residents were packing up and getting as far away as they could.

But because Hurricane Michael hit in October, and temperatures in north Florida have dropped in recent days with overnight lows in the 50s, Scott said he now wanted to make sure patients and nursing home residents are staying warm.

By one count, state officials said, 285 people in Mexico Beach defied mandatory evacuation orders and stayed behind. Police made two sweeps of the town Wednesday morning and recorded names of everyone who planned to stay, though officials said it is impossible to know who might have left during or immediately after the storm.

'We are in new territory, ' National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook. "The officers, I finally made accountability of them all today, two days after the fact". They said almost 200 people had been rescued.

Rescue teams, hampered by power and telephone outages, used cadaver dogs, drones and heavy equipment to hunt for people in the rubble. It was unclear how numerous others might have gotten out at the last minute.

Many people who evacuated the Florida Panhandle now have nowhere to work or live. "They didn't have a place to go". "I have been up since 3:30 or 4 a.m. emailing and checking on staff to see if they are safe". The wind shredded the roof of his single-story home. "This is obviously the worst", said Stephanie Palmer, a FEMA firefighter and rescuer from Coral Springs, Florida.

A banner hangs from a damaged home as a South Florida urban search and rescue team checks for survivors of hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. It pushed a wall of seawater inland, causing widespread flooding.

After devastating coastal communities in the Florida Panhandle, the remnants of the storm, now downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, killed five people as it passed through the USA state of Virginia. The largest blackouts were 230,749 in North Carolina, 220,632 in Florida, 191,044 in Virginia and 105,761 in Georgia.

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