Hurricane Michael destroyed coastal Florida cities beyond recognition, as homes, businesses and crops were uprooted or swamped inland from Georgia to Virginia.
Hundreds of thousands are left without electricity, and emergency officials have no access to many towns. The U.S. death toll has risen to at least 11 – including five in Virginia and four in Florida – and it’s expected to climb reports CNN.
“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.
Michael, which smacked Florida’s Panhandle as one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the United States, left Virginia’s coast as a post-tropical low early Friday – and its trail of destruction will take weeks to take into account.
A psychiatric hospital in Florida is isolated after downed trees blocked roads around Chattahoochee, and a tree caused a water line to break. The facility is running on power generators, and helicopters have delivered food and water, the state’s Department of Children and Families said.
• Where is Michael? 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. Michael’s outer bands still could drop up to 3 inches of rain from New Jersey to Long Island to Cape Cod, and up to 5 inches over the Massachusetts islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard through Friday afternoon, forecasters said.
• In the dark: At least 1.27 million customers in seven states are without power, including 495,000 in North Carolina.
• 11 killed: The dead include five people in Virginia. Four of those drowned, and the fifth was a firefighter who died in a storm-related crash, officials said. Four people in Florida, a child in Georgia and a man in North Carolina also died.
• Severe crop damage: Georgia officials are receiving reports of damage to pecan, cotton, vegetables and peanut crops.