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Residents see damaged homes for first time

CNN's Gary Tuchman is in Shell Point Beach, Florida, where residents were overcome with emotion when they returned to homes severely damaged by Hurricane Michael.

Posted: Oct 13, 2018 3:33 AM
Updated: Oct 13, 2018 3:38 AM

The Sunshine State suffered the brunt of Hurricane Michael's punishing winds, which decimated beach towns and left little more than debris in their wake.

But it wasn't just Florida that felt the wrath of the storm. States across the Southeast felt the effects of Michael, which transitioned to a post-tropical cyclone on Friday.

Here's how the storm affected Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia.

Virginia

Some of the most severe impacts were felt in Virginia, where authorities said five people had died — four of whom drowned.

More than 12 million people were under flood or flash flood warnings Friday morning from North Carolina to Virginia and up to Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

"Yesterday, a wide swath of Virginia from Southwest to Hampton Roads suffered flooding, high winds and tornado damage from the storm," said Gov. Ralph Northam in a press conference Friday.

"We still have flooding, downed trees, closed roads and a lot of debris," he said.

On Thursday, the Roanoke River escaped its banks and flooded nearby homes and businesses. A nearby resident, Cory Patirlo, said he had nearly 2 feet of water in his home.

"I'm gonna be sleeping in my van, with my dogs," he told CNN affiliate WDBJ.

Some Virginians shared footage of rising floodwaters on social media. Lee Vogler, the vice mayor of Danville, Virginia, captured scenes of waters halfway submerged in the southern Virginia town.

"There are similar situations on dozens of streets in our city," Vogler told CNN. He said the town was prepared for last month's Hurricane Florence, but Michael was a different story.

"This is much, much worse," he said.

Emily Waddell in southwestern Virginia shared footage of her property, Rainbow Rock Farmstead, being overtaken by floodwater from a rising creek. When she spoke to CNN on Thursday, she had lost a chicken coop and four of her six gardens.

"We didn't expect it to get this bad," she said.

The National Weather Service in Wakefield, Virginia, warned Friday morning that river flooding would continue to be an issue through early next week, even as Michael raced toward the Atlantic.

About 520,000 Virginia customers were without power, according to the state's Department of Emergency Management. Officials also suspected the state had been hit by five tornadoes.

The Carolinas

Flooding was also prevalent in the Carolinas, where some residents were still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Florence last month.

Officials in McDowell County announced two additional deaths after a vehicle struck a downed tree in Marion, North Carolina. One died at the scene. Another died at the hospital.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper had previously said a man died when a tree fell on his vehicle in Iredell County.

On Friday, Cooper said the storm "left behind a long track of damage."

He said the state "saw some powerful rushing waters yesterday," adding that first responders rescued nearly 100 people and evacuated many more affected by flash flooding.

Much of the water receded overnight, though some rivers were still rising and two were forecast to crest on Friday, Cooper said.

CNN affiliate WLOS said there were 18 water rescues in Henderson County, North Carolina, on Thursday, including one woman who thought she could drive her SUV through rising water.

Wayne Murphy, a Hendersonville resident, told WLOS he needed waders to go from his porch to his driveway.

"It just got this bad, but it could be worse," said Murphy. "There are a lot of people that lost everything."

Nearly 500,000 customers were without power in North Carolina, and another 92,000 in South Carolina, according to the states' emergency management divisions.

Georgia

Southwestern Georgia experienced hurricane-strength winds on Wednesday evening, downing numerous trees and causing property damage and power outages.

CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller pointed out that Michael was the first Category 3 hurricane to track into the state of Georgia since 1898.

State officials said they'd received reports of damage to the state's pecan, cotton, vegetables and peanut crops

Gary Black, commissioner for the Georgia Department of Agriculture, said in a statement Thursday the storm's "impact has been the most widespread and devastating hurricane in recollection to impact" the state's agricultural industry.

"Crops, animals and infrastructure have all taken a substantial loss," he said.

Chief among storm's consequence was its blow to the poultry industry, which the department said accounts for $23.3 billion to the Georgia economy. The department had received reports that 84 chicken houses -- estimated to hold more than 2 million chickens -- were destroyed.

One girl died in Seminole County, Georgia, when a metal carport crashed through the roof and hit her head. It was several hours before first responders could reach the unincorporated area where the girl was, according to county emergency management director Travis Brooks.

She was later identified as 11-year-old Sarah Radney, a girl who "loved God" and loved life, her father, Roy Radney said.

"She brightened my world," he said.

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