Devastation in Florida, flooding elsewhere — WHAT'S HAPPENING

Devastation in Florida, flooding elsewhere — WHAT'S HAPPENING

State and local officials have sought to avoid a repeat of problems a year ago that authorities say led to the deaths of Broward County nursing-home residents after Hurricane Irma. Four drowned while the fifth person, a firefighter, was killed when a tractor trailer lost control on a rainy highway and hit his truck in Hanover County, Virginia. A local sheriff's deputy saved a 17-year-old man using a human chain with law enforcement officers, local residents and rope, officials said, but a man and a woman - who police said are related to the teenager - were swept away. An 11-year-old girl died in Georgia when a carport came crashing through the roof.

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. State and local officials previously said a man in the state was killed Thursday when a tree fell on his vehicle in Iredell County.

Crews from other states are assisting Carolinas-based line workers.

Aerial photos taken by NOAA'S Office of Response and Restoration and posted online show before and after snapshots of the storm-ravaged Florida Panhandle.

More than 1,700 search and rescue workers have been deployed, Governor Rick ScottΓÇÖs office said in a statement, including seven swift-water rescue teams and almost 300 ambulances.

More than 400,000 people in Florida, Georgia and Alabama were without power. Senior said as of Friday morning that there were "more staff than patients" still at the hospital.

"You can't make sense of it, but what you do is you take the situation, and what we have to make certain that our kids know is that we must be resilient", Smith said.

He said, "Everybody just needs to help each other right now".

By all accounts, Sarah Radney was safe inside her grandparents' home when Hurricane Michael roared into southwest Georgia.

Gulf Power officials said Saturday that some areas of Bay County on Florida's coast could get their power restored in the next two days.

The full extent of Michael's fury was only slowly becoming clear, with some of the hardest-hit areas difficult to reach because of roads blocked by debris or water. A 128km stretch of Interstate 10, the main east-west route along the Panhandle, was closed.

GONE. Claire mourns as she sees the damage caused by Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, on October 12, 2018.

The National Guard is in addition to almost 2,000 law-enforcement officials that have also been brought into the Panhandle.

Six people are dead in the storm's path, and authorities fear the toll could climb higher as search-and-rescue efforts continue.

When the steep-walled eye of Hurricane Michael passed over Stefan Melendez Wednesday afternoon, he stepped into the temporarily tranquil Florida environment and saw blue skies above.

Crews with dogs went door-to-door in Mexico Beach on Saturday and pushed aside debris to get inside badly damage structures in a second wave of searches after an initial, hasty search.

Numerous injured in Florida were taken to hard-hit Panama City, 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Mexico Beach.

As of Thursday evening, more than 370,000 customers were without power in Florida and 202,000 customers in Virginia were in the dark.

Gov. Rick Scott said state officials still "do not know enough" about the fate of those who stayed behind in the region. In Georgia, Southern's Georgia Power unit said it expected to restore service to most customers over the next couple of days with those in the hardest hit areas by October 16.

As Michael plows northward up the Atlantic seaboard, the governors of North and SC urged residents to brace for more heavy rain and storm-force winds.

Debris and floodwater are also making some of the worst-hit areas hard to reach.

Bay County, which is where Panama City is located, only has 30 percent cellphone coverage. Almost 100,000 customers in that coastal county also remain without power. "This is just a small unique coastal community".

Lights have been coming back on in Tallahassee.

The White House has issued an emergency declaration for the state of Alabama in the wake of Hurricane Michael.

President Donald Trump announced plans to visit Florida and hard-hit Georgia early next week but didn't say what day he would arrive.

Under the declaration, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.

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