Florida officials fear Michael’s death toll will rise

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The tally of lives lost across the South stood at 14. So far, no confirmed storm-related deaths have been reported in Florida's northwest counties.

In door-to-door searches, teams comprised mostly of off-duty police officers and firefighters have found more than 520 of the 2,100 people reported missing since Michael crashed ashore near Mexico Beach, Florida, on Wednesday as one of the most powerful storms in USA history.

Scott said he visited Mexico Beach on Friday which was almost wiped out in the storm and described the area looking like a "war zone".

Ray Jadallah, from the Miami-Dade County Florida Task Force 1, has spent the last two days - 20 hours a day - digging through debris in Mexico Beach.

So far, one body has been found in Mexico Beach, but authorities say there is little doubt the death toll will rise.

"Bottom line: It was one of the most powerful storms that the country's seen since 1851", said Brock Long, Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator.

"We still have flooding, downed trees, closed roads and a lot of debris", Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said at a news conference Friday afternoon. Some residents with destroyed or damaged homes counted themselves lucky to have survived.

In the largely destroyed oceanside town of Mexico Beach, Councilwoman Linda Albrecht learned her home was gone through online news video.

Some were moved hundreds of feet inland while others were simply smashed to bits.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson went to Panama City, up the coast from Mexico Beach, and was stunned by what he saw. The hurricane hit the panhandle area with category 4 winds that caused major damage.

Michael also disrupted energy operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico as it approached land, cutting crude oil production by more than 40 per cent and natural gas output by almost a third as offshore platforms were evacuated.

Weather satellites tracking monster Hurricane Michael captured this incredible view of the storm's clouds over North Carolina early yesterday morning (Oct. 11).

“We went out to the middle of St. Andrews Bay and rode out the entirety of the storm, ” said Barker, 47, a 1989 graduate of Flathead High School. Food and emergency supplies had to be flown in.

Traffic lights remained out yesterday, with police directing traffic at intersections, and lines at the few gas stations that were open were five to six cars deep.

"We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the loved ones and friends of those killed", Cooper said in a statement.

"I spent my life savings and retirement to stay here". "Can't tell the difference between what I've picked and what I haven't". "I can't sell it now".

"I've never seen anything like this craziness", said Tamara's café owner Danny Itzkovitz, 54, as he was busy grilling burgers.

But some found nothing left to save.

Nearly 1.2 million homes and businesses were without power from Florida to Virginia on Thursday because of the storm. The storm also killed four people in Florida, one in Georgia and three in North Carolina, authorities said.

"Crews have encountered numerous downed trees, broken poles, flooded roads and saturated rights of way, slowing progress in some locations", the power provider said in a news release, adding that some remaining locations "will require significant repairs on lines that are hard to access".

Daniel Fraga, an electrician, told AFP he has only an extremely weak and intermittent signal. "We are extremely thankful that our community was able to, frankly, dodge what could have been a significantly more impactful storm", he said.