Hurricane Michael Death Toll Climbs to 16

Weakening Hurricane Michael Swirls Over North Carolina in Satellite Images

US hurricane leaves homes unmoored, power lines damaged

At least 18 people have died, and more than 1,500 are informally missing as a result of Hurricane Michael, which made landfall in the Florida panhandle on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm, carrying sustained winds of 155 miles per hour.

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Zahralban said searchers using a trained dog were trying to determine if that person had been alone or was part of a family.

Blocks and blocks of homes were demolished, reduced to splintered lumber or mere concrete slabs by the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental almost 50 years.

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.

"Before, it was paradise", Mexico Beach resident Lance Hanson told NPR's Greg Allen. 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.

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Power and phone service were being slowly restored, with about 236,000 homes and businesses still without power in North Carolina, down from a peak of more than 600,000, said spokesman Keith Acree of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Mexico Beach, the ground-zero town, was almost obliterated by the hurricane, an official said Friday as the scale of the storm's fury became ever clearer.

Hurricane Michael wreaks havoc on the coastal town of Mexico Beach, Florida.

Experts predict that more will be pronounced dead before the rescue effort is over.

According to Reuters, "teams consisting mostly of off-duty police officers and firefighters have found more than 520 of the 2,100 people reported missing" since the hurricane hit. "Literally overnight it went from a Category 1 or 2 to a Category 4, nearly borderline 5. We're getting things done pretty quick", Kremeier said. This is pretty extensive, the damage.

Hundreds of patients were taken to hospitals across Florida and as far as Mobile, Alabama on Friday in a parade of ambulances and medical helicopters. It is behind only Hurricane Camille that hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969 and the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 that made landfall in the Florida Keys.

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The storm left a trail of destruction before it reached Virginia on Thursday. "But I made it".

"I told him, 'Hold on, just hold on, I'm calling for help now", she told CNN affiliate WFTS, sobbing. It was unclear how numerous others might have gotten out at the last minute.

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. "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".

Hanson stayed in his family's house one block from the beach to ride out the storm, along with his uncle and 98-year-old grandmother. The roof caved in and the living room and garage of his parents' home no longer exist. "This is obviously the worst", said Stephanie Palmer, a FEMA firefighter and rescuer from Coral Springs, Florida.

Mexico Beach, Florida, in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, on Oct 12, 2018. "Mexico Beach, there's no barrier island out there to protect it so it got the full force of the Category 4 wind and that wall of water". Three people died in North Carolina, all due to falling trees, and a young girl was killed in Georgia when debris was blown through the roof of her grandparents' home.

Although weaker as it pushed over the southeastern United States, the storm carried high winds and delivered drenching rains to Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.

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