Hurricane Michael’s death toll rose to 13 on Friday and was expected to climb higher as emergency workers searched rubble and the storm’s grim consequences stretched from the Florida Panhandle into Virginia.
Rescue teams were in the early stages of combing a region razed by a Category 4 hurricane that flattened blocks, collapsed buildings and left infrastructure crippled. Some of the hardest-hit communities have yet to report any fatalities, and although officials said they hoped they would find survivors, a resigned gloom was setting in throughout the disaster zone.
“I expect the fatality count to come up today. I expect it to come up tomorrow, as well, as we get through the debris,” Brock Long, the chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said in an interview with CNN on Friday. “Hopefully it doesn’t rise dramatically, but it is a possibility.”
Here’s the latest:
• The authorities in Virginia said seven people in the state had died from the storm, including several who had drowned and a firefighter who was responding to an emergency call.
• Four deaths occurred in Gadsden County, west of Tallahassee, according to Lt. Anglie Hightower, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office. The victims included a man who died when a tree crashed down on his home in Greensboro.
• An 11-year-old girl, Sarah Radney, was killed on Wednesday when a carport was torn away and was sent hurtling into a modular home in Seminole County, Ga.
• At least 1.5 million customers were without electricity in states stretching from Florida to Virginia.
• It has been a tough few weeks for the Carolinas. After thrashing the Florida Panhandle, Michael slogged through states still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Florence last month.
• Much of the coast of the Florida Panhandle, including Mexico Beach and Panama City, was left in ruins. The area is dotted with small, rural communities, some of them among the poorest in the state.
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Source: The New York Times