Nebraskans travel to Florida, help those affected by Hurricane Michael

Hurricane Michael update: at least 13 killed, including firefighter as crews search for survivors

Searchers on Friday uncovered the first body in the rubble of the Florida town of Mexico Beach, which was almost obliterated by Hurricane Michael, as the toll from the historic storm rose to at least 18 and was expected to climb further.

Some of the hardest-hit places are Mexico Beach and other communities along the Panhandle, where Michael razed buildings, snapped huge trees in half and threw debris over roads.

Debris caused by Hurricane Michael is seen in Mexico Beach, Florida, on Oct 12, 2018.

"It's like a war zone". He said it was unclear if the man lived alone or with a family.

Teams have found 520 people but more than 1,500 are still missing, though plans to set up a makeshift mortuary in Seminole County have been scrapped, leading to speculation that the death toll is unlikely to rise dramatically.

Seven people have been killed in storm-related incidents across Florida, North Carolina and Georgia, including 11-year-old Sarah Radney.

The death toll from Michael has risen to at least 17 and almost 900,000 customers remain without power in seven states.

Social media websites were crowded with messages from those trying to reach missing families in Florida's Bay and Gulf Counties. Rescuers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) used dogs, drones and Global Positioning System in the search.

Mexico Beach, the ground-zero town, was almost obliterated by the hurricane, an official said Friday as the scale of the storm's fury became ever clearer.

Blocks and blocks of homes were demolished, reduced to splintered lumber or mere concrete slabs by the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S.in almost 50 years.

Three days after Hurricane Michael unleashed its wrath in the Florida Panhandle, residents in some of the hardest hit areas are growing desperate for food and water.

Except for the emergency 911 system, authorities in Bay County, the epicentre of the disaster, were virtually without telephone or internet service until late on Friday, making communications internally and with the public hard.

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Florida will give each of the impacted county 200 generators, so they can power their traffic lights, Scott said. "We've been writing things down on pieces of paper".

"We understand what we are doing is helping people and it's needy, it has to be done".

Virginia officials said that Michael, classified as a tropical storm by the time it plowed through the state, had killed five people there. Search teams went door-to-door hunting victims.

The tally of lives lost across the South stood at 14, including the victim found in the rubble of Mexico Beach.

"It's OK if you want to live on the coast or on top of a mountain that sees wildfires or whatever, but you have to build to a higher standard", he said. The whole area. they're going to tear down these houses and rebuild it.

By Friday morning the storm remnants were about 275 miles (445 km) southwest of Nantucket, Massachusetts, packing maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph).

At least 1.5 million customers were without electricity in states stretching from Florida to Virginia.

The number of people in emergency shelters was expected to swell to 20,000 across five states by Friday, said Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross. The Coast Guard said it rescued 129 people.

Crews with dogs went door-to-door in Mexico Beach and pushed aside debris to get inside badly damage structures in a second wave of searches following what they described as an initial, "hasty" search of the area.

"It was the flawless beach town". "All major roadways are passable", the city said, adding that 83 percent of its traffic signals were operating normally.

"It was just a freak accident, I never heard of anything like that", said her father, Roy Radney.

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