Death Toll from Hurricane Michael Rises to at Least Five

Hurricane Michael death toll hits 17 officials say it could rise

The storm also has brought flash flooding to hurricane-weary parts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

The death toll from Hurricane Michael, which slammed into the Florida coast as a Category 4 storm, has risen to at least five, United States television networks reported Thursday.

Coastal residents rushed to board up their homes and stock up on bottled water and other supplies.

Michael had weakened to a Category 1, with maximum winds of 90 miles per hour as of 8:00 pm Eastern time (0000 GMT), but that still left it an extremely unsafe storm. By 8 a.m. Tuesday, top winds had reached 100 miles per hour (155 kph), and it was forecast to strengthen more, with winds topping 111 miles per hour (179 kph), capable of causing devastating damage.

A ferocious and historic Hurricane Michael reached the Carolinas after tearing through Florida and Georgia, demolishing homes, submerging entire neighborhoods and killing at least five people, including an 11-year-old girl.

As of 5 a.m. ET, the center of the storm, which became a hurricane on Monday, was located around 390 miles south of Apalachicola, Fl. "If they tell you to leave, you have to leave".

His opponent in Florida's Senate race, senator Bill Nelson, said a "wall of water" could cause major destruction along the Panhandle. "You just don't know when the next one is going down".

The storm appeared to be so powerful - with a central pressure dropping to 933 millibars - that it is expected to remain a hurricane as it moves over Georgia early Thursday.

Authorities are anxious about a storm surge that could be as high as 12 feet.

Michael wasn't quite done wreaking havoc in the Caribbean on Tuesday.

It made landfall on the coast as a Category 1 hurricane on September 14 and drenched some parts of the state with 40 inches (101 centimeters) of rain.

According to the Associated Press, six people were killed in Honduras, four in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador.

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Authorities were also searching for a boy swept away by a river in Guatemala. As the day goes on, additional areas, including Tampa, will be seeing some rain and scattered storms from the outer bands of the storm.

Forecasters in Alabama warned of possible tornados. Forecasters said it will unleash damaging winds and rain all the way into the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence's epic flooding.

"You want to check on things and begin the recovery process", Scott said.

"During disasters, Floridians take care of each other", Scott said.

"We ve been very cautious with sending our first responders out right now", she said.

"This is the worst it's ever been", she said.

"We're looking at a significant storm with significant impact, possibly greater than I've seen in my 59 years of life, " Johnson said of his city on the shore of Apalachicola Bay, which where about 90 percent of Florida's oysters are harvested. It weakened steadily as it traveled inland over the Panhandle.

The storm "grew into a monster", Trump said Wednesday from the Oval Office.

The Florida Panhandle is the wide strip in the northwestern corner of the state bordered by the Gulf of Mexico to the south and Alabama and Georgia to the north.

Communications outages and roads blocked by downed trees, strewn power lines and debris made it hard to get an overall assessment on Thursday of the damage wrought by Michael, but the initial picture was grim.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida's Democratic nominee for governor, filled sandbags with residents and urged the state capital's residents to finish emergency preparations quickly.

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