Hurricane Michael death toll hits 16

Hurricane Michael death toll hits 16

For these hard-hit places, Michael - which came ashore as a Category 4 storm with 155 miles per hour winds that made it one of the strongest to make landfall in the Gulf in a century - will leave a long-lasting mark.

While most residents fled ahead of the storm's arrival, others stayed to face the hurricane.

Florida governor Rick Scott, called it "unimaginable destruction" and said: "So many lives have been changed forever".

Searchers on Friday uncovered the first body in the rubble of the Florida town of Mexico Beach, which was almost obliterated by Hurricane Michael, as the toll from the historic storm rose to at least 18 and was expected to climb further.

Long said the storm posed a direct threat to people who ignored warnings and evacuation orders on the coastlines, particularly given the threat of storm surge capable of tearing apart and flattening buildings.

"People have no idea how hard Hurricane Michael has hit the great state of Georgia", Mr. Trump tweeted.

As the hurricane passed through Florida, it made its way to Georgia, becoming a Category 1 storm by 8 p.m.

One resident told Inside Edition he just wants to "get out of here alive" following the mammoth storm.

Forecasters said it could also bring 3in to 6in of rain to Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia, triggering flash flooding in a corner of the country still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

Its 110 miles per hour winds are just below the threshold for becoming a Category 3 hurricane as it plows through the Gulf of Mexico at around 12 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

"But it's different when you walk down and see this, and your emotions run away".

"I think you're going to see it climb", Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said of the death count. "It's forecast to be a large and risky hurricane at landfall".

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Red tide in the Gulf of Mexico off southwest Florida began last October after Hurricane Irma ravaged the state.

Meanwhile, tropical storm warnings extend from Florida's Chassahowitzka River to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

- The human cost: A falling tree killed a man in Iredell County, North Carolina; an 11-year-old girl in Seminole County, Georgia, was killed when a carport blew through the roof of her home; four people were killed in Gadsden County, Florida, near Tallahassee; and Virginia had five storm related deaths, including two people who were swept away from their vehicles by floodwaters. "A very risky storm surge will occur along the coast and well inland". This is a serious and life-threatening situation- don't take any chances.

Marchetti said his volunteer search teams, consisting mostly of off-duty police officers and firefighters, also had rescued or accounted for 345 others previously reported to CrowdSource Rescue since Michael struck on Wednesday. He focused on islands off the coast whose bridges may close as the storm approaches. "If they tell you to leave, you have to leave". "And then you're riding it out in your auto instead of something else". The whole area. they're going to tear down these houses and rebuild it.

Scott extended a state of emergency to 35 counties and activated 2,500 National Guardsmen for hurricane duty.

The hurricane forced Benny and Cindy Guinn to get married a day earlier. Panama City, a popular spring break retreat, and Mexico Beach, another upscale coastline spot, were almost unrecognizable in Michael's wake.

"We (first) bumped it up to Tuesday night ... and then we bumped it up to Tuesday morning", Cindy Guinn said. "Take care of them", he said.

Tom Garcia fought to keep the sliding doors of his beachfront home closed as the storm surge rose chest-high inside the home.

Gas stations in Florida already are running out of fuel.

"Since 6:00 am it's been backed up. We're just now running out of regular (gas)", worker Danny Hess told CNN affiliate WJHG.

The governor's declaration activates the state's emergency operations plan, according to Ivey's office. "During this hurricane season we turn to you, O loving Father", it says.

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