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.
Dr Jay Radtke, the medical examiner for some of the areas of most concern, including Panama City and Mexico Beach, said he could not release any information on the number of dead in the six Panhandle counties under his jurisdiction. "We are swamped," he said. "It's a disaster zone down here."
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.
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, Georgia.
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 devastated. The area is dotted with small, rural communities, some of them among the poorest in the state.
The New York Times
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