Hurricane Michael's death toll rises after five killed in Virginia

Weakening Hurricane Michael Swirls Over North Carolina in Satellite Images

Weakening Hurricane Michael Swirls Over North Carolina in Satellite Images

Emergency officials said they've received thousands of calls asking about missing people, but with cellphone service out across a wide area, they found it impossible to know who among those unaccounted for were safe but just unable to dial out to friends or family.

The rescue came just hours after Hurricane Michael ripped through Florida's Panhandle, almost wiping out Panama City and Mexico Beach.

"I expect the fatality count to rise today and tomorrow as we get through the debris", Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long said Friday morning. The town of Mexico Beach, Florida, previously home to less than 2,000 year-round residents, has been effectively wiped off the map. Residents are walking through piles of debris, some assessing the damage and others trying to find food.

Rick Scott tweeted Saturday that millions of meals and gallons of water are on the way to the affected communities. As of 6:30 a.m. ET Friday, the post-tropical low was moving northeast across the Atlantic Ocean well off Virginia. No tropical cyclone warnings or watches were in effect in the United States. Three other firefighters were seriously injured in the crash.

Five people were killed in Florida and a man died in a storm-related traffic accident in North Carolina on Thursday. "I have seen cotton that was being harvested yesterday". "Can't tell the difference between what I've picked and what I haven't".

A 38-year-old motorist also was killed by a massive tree in Statesville, NC, and 11-year-old Sarah Radney of Georgia was killed when a metal carport struck her in the head as she hunkered down in her Seminole County home. "If you don't have to come towards the coast, I would stay as far west of the panhandle as you can because it's just insane down here". "A river just started coming down the road". Her father says she loved playing the trumpet, acting and singing.

Reuters reported that it could be weeks before power is restored in parts of the Florida panhandle, where Michael hit on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane.

A man who died when a tree fell on a home near Greensboro, Florida, has been identified as Steven Sweet, according to Lt. Anglie Hightower, Gadsden County sheriff's public information officer.

The death toll stood at 13 across the South.

Hundreds of patients were taken Friday to hospitals across Florida and as far away as Mobile, Alabama, in a parade of ambulances and medical helicopters.

Michael Buble announces he is quitting music following son's cancer battle
I don't even know how I was breathing. 'My wife was the same and even though I was the stronger of the two of us, I wasn't strong. Unable to control his emotions during the hard chat, Michael reflected on fame and admitted he became "embarrassed by his ego".

Linda Marquardt and her husband somehow survived the very worst of it in Mexico Beach, where Hurricane Michael's eye passed directly over their home.

"Do you think her body would be here?"

"We have shelters open (and) as long as there's a need they're going to stay open", he said.

There is not much left of what used to be the parish hall of St. Dominic Catholic Church in Panama City. Despite the destruction, the Rev. Luke Farabaugh and his congregation celebrated Mass on Thursday. "We've been writing things down on pieces of paper". "We've seen a lot of signs of hope".

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

Miami Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban, leader of a search-and-rescue unit that went into the flattened town, said: "There are individuals who are deceased".

For years, Hal Summers has managed Killer Seafood, a Mexico Beach restaurant known for its tuna tacos. Hundreds of cars had broken windows. Cory Patirlo, who lives near the river, said the impact was unexpected. Water rose almost to the top of his garage door. "If we're going to rebuild, do it right".

"I told him, 'Hold on, just hold on, I'm calling for help now", she told CNN affiliate WFTS, sobbing.

If the body count remains as low as is now expected, it will be because Michael hit a modern, developed region with established infrastructure, solid communications, experience in dealing with storms and a disaster prevention plan in place. The planet has warmed significantly over the past several decades, causing changes in the environment.

While we might not get more storms in a warmer climate, most studies show storms will get stronger and produce more rain. The winds wound up being only slightly short of a Category 5 storm and the storm surge hit a stretch of coast that's barely above sea level with little to slow the advance of the water or dampen the winds.

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