See Hurricane Michael's path of destruction

Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida with winds of 155 mph. The storm left a path of destruction in its wake.

Posted: Oct 12, 2018 8:06 AM
Updated: Oct 12, 2018 8:19 AM

[Breaking news update, published at 8:09 a.m. ET]

Five deaths related to Michael have been reported in Virginia, the state's Department of Emergency Management said on Twitter on Friday morning.

That brings the total number of US deaths related to the storm to at least 11.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long said he expects the US death count to climb Friday and Saturday as searchers sift through debris.

[Previous story, published at 6:05 a.m. ET]

As Michael moves into the Atlantic, the days of misery are far from over in the coastal cities left devastated beyond recognition. There's no water, no power and emergency officials have no access to many towns from the Florida Panhandle to Virginia.

Michael, one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the United States, left the East Coast early Friday morning. Yet, parts of Virginia are still seeing dangerous wind gusts, the National Hurricane Center said.

Aerial footage shows coastal cities in Florida completely wiped out. Residents are walking through piles of debris, some assessing the damage and others trying to get out and find food.

"This is not stuff that you just put back together overnight," Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long said Thursday. "It's unrealistic for people to think it's going to happen in the next day or two."

A psychiatric hospital in Florida remains isolated after downed trees blocked roads around Chattahoochee, Florida, 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.

Track the storm

Key developments

• Where is Michael? As of 5 a.m. ET Friday, the storm is moving northeast across the Atlantic Ocean and was about 185 miles east-northeast of Norfolk, Virginia.

• Hundreds of thousands in the dark: At least 1.27 million customers in seven states are without power, including 495,000 in North Carolina.

• Victims identified: The dead include five people in Virginia; four people in Florida; a child in Georgia; and a man in North Carolina.

• Public health emergency declared in Georgia: The declaration will help ensure those who rely on Medicare and Medicaid have access to the care they need, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.

6 dead, many missing

Sarah Radney saw trees falling down all around her grandparents' home when Hurricane Michael roared over Georgia. She was safe until a carport came crashing through the roof.

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

Sarah had just started the sixth grade and joined the drama club and the band. Her father says she loved playing the trumpet, acting and singing.

The 11-year-old girl and at least five others have been killed since Michael made landfall Wednesday and made its way northeast leaving a path of destruction, officials said.

A man who died when a tree fell on a home near Greensboro, Florida, has been identified as Steven Sweet, according to Lt. Anglie Hightower, Gadsden County Sheriff's Public Information Officer.

Three other people died in Gadsden County, Hightower said. Authorities did not discuss the circumstances of their deaths but their bodies have been taken to the medical examiner's office to determine the cause of death.

The sixth victim, a 38-year-old man,died when a large tree fell on his vehicle on Highway 64 east of Statesville, North Carolina, on Thursday, Iredell County Fire Marshall David Souther said.

Hundreds of people have been rescued from the debris and authorities fear the toll could climb higher as search-and-rescue efforts continue.

Signs of hope

Thousands of residents in the Florida Panhandle are slowly returning to their homes and discovering that everything or almost everything they owned has been reduced to rubble.

Linda Clarke gasped repeatedly at the sight of her once new home in Shell Point Beach -- now severely damaged.

"But you know what...it's just stuff, it's just stuff," she told her husband as they walked through their home. "It's just stuff we can replace."

There is not much left of what used to be the parish hall of St. Dominic Catholic Church in Panama City, Florida, but piles and piles of rubble. Despite the destruction, Rev. Luke Farabaugh and his congregation celebrated Mass on Thursday.

"Things, we can replace," he said, speaking on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront." "We've seen a lot of signs of hope ... I've been telling people ... to have hope."

"Hope is that even if the storm does come, even if I lose my car, my house, my family, even if I lose my life, blessed be God," he explained. "Our reward isn't just in this life but in the life to come. So we're just trying to give people hope at this point."

Flooding in the Carolinas and Virginia

The rapid-moving rainfall from Michael triggered flash floods in parts of Virginia and the Carolinas, including areas threatened by swollen rivers during Hurricane Florence.

Hundreds of residents were rescued on Thursday from cars, apartments and homes flooded by rushing water.

In Virginia, the Roanoke River jumped its banks and flooded several nearby homes and businesses. Cory Patirlo, who lives near the river, said the impact of Michael was unexpected. It was the first time he had nearly 2 feet of water in his home.

"It wasn't going to get this high, realistically. It never has," he he told CNN affiliate WDBJ.

"I'm gonna be sleeping in my van, with my dogs."

The water receded within hours in some areas and residents are beginning to cleanup on Friday. Others are expected to remain in shelters through the weekend as the rivers levels go down.

The impact of climate change on storms

Michael's strength may reflect the effect of climate change on storms. The planet has warmed significantly over the past several decades, causing changes in the environment.

Human-caused greenhouse gases in the atmosphere create an energy imbalance, with more than 90% of remaining heat trapped by the gases going into the oceans, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

While we might not get more storms in a warmer climate, most studies show storms will get stronger and produce more rain. Storm surge is worse now than it was 100 years ago, thanks to the rise in sea levels.

And unless we change the rate of greenhouse gas emissions, we should expect hurricanes to intensify more rapidly in the coming decades, the scientific research group Climate Central said.

Get the latest delivered to your inbox: Sign up for storm email alerts here.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story gave the incorrect surname for storm victim Steven Sweet. It has been corrected.

Huntsville
Scattered Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 67°
Florence
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Fayetteville
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 65°
Decatur
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 65°
Scottsboro
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 66°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19572348
Mobile13320292
Montgomery8811183
Tuscaloosa8586117
Madison782078
Shelby592349
Lee588759
Baldwin545650
Marshall393343
Calhoun349942
Etowah343945
Morgan327328
Houston280221
Elmore265947
DeKalb240620
St. Clair230835
Walker230683
Talladega214628
Limestone208820
Cullman189020
Dallas178326
Franklin176729
Autauga175725
Russell17573
Lauderdale169833
Colbert164126
Blount160815
Escambia160324
Chilton156431
Jackson156011
Covington138527
Dale135844
Coffee13206
Pike119410
Chambers116142
Tallapoosa115685
Clarke108916
Marion95729
Butler91639
Barbour8737
Winston73812
Marengo71620
Pickens65614
Lowndes65327
Bibb65210
Randolph64213
Hale63428
Lawrence61623
Geneva6074
Cherokee60313
Bullock59914
Monroe5848
Clay5797
Washington55613
Perry5416
Crenshaw53632
Conecuh53511
Wilcox53111
Henry4935
Macon48119
Fayette4508
Sumter43519
Lamar3662
Cleburne3646
Choctaw34912
Greene30315
Coosa1683
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 189454

Reported Deaths: 2352
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby30613455
Davidson26381303
Hamilton937494
Knox929875
Rutherford924089
Williamson519836
Sumner479497
Wilson345344
Putnam327740
Montgomery304544
Unassigned29474
Bradley291417
Out of TN284426
Madison283264
Sevier259615
Blount250424
Maury232923
Washington227635
Robertson220335
Sullivan214833
Hamblen189926
Tipton180519
Trousdale16537
Gibson163622
Hardeman155826
Wayne14955
Dyer135014
Bedford132817
Dickson125015
Coffee121013
Cumberland119218
Fayette118319
Weakley117619
Henderson116924
Anderson116513
Carter115828
Obion115610
Loudon11546
Greene114244
McMinn111325
Jefferson111014
Warren10477
Macon104620
Monroe103018
Lawrence102312
Hardin102216
Lauderdale97916
Haywood96819
Franklin9639
Lake9182
Roane8854
McNairy87618
Carroll87420
Bledsoe8544
White8309
Rhea82112
Cheatham80510
Hawkins79618
Marshall7495
Cocke7439
Overton7355
Smith71311
Johnson6962
Chester62310
Henry6189
Lincoln6111
Giles59117
Hickman5738
DeKalb56114
Crockett53619
Marion5258
Decatur5127
Fentress4933
Claiborne4415
Campbell4394
Polk38810
Grainger3723
Union3531
Benton3369
Jackson3245
Morgan3153
Unicoi2851
Cannon2830
Grundy2835
Humphreys2463
Sequatchie2312
Meigs2263
Clay2245
Houston2143
Scott2132
Stewart1982
Lewis1961
Moore1691
Van Buren1640
Perry1500
Pickett1142
Hancock1063

Community Events