Search efforts continue for missing Hurricane Michael victims in devastated Florida Panhandle

By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
October 16, 2018, 10:43:46 PM EDT

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Nearly a week after Hurricane Michael left parts of the Florida Panhandle in ruins, emergency officials rushed to deliver aid, coordinate resources and clear debris as the search continued for survivors.

At least 46 people are still missing in the town of Mexico Beach, according to ABC News. Mexico Beach is near where Michael roared onshore with 155-mph winds. Two fatality was reported in the town, but at least 29 deaths have been reported overall in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, as a result of the storm, according to Reuters.

The body of a man and a woman ware recovered on Tuesday in Mexico Beach, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.


Utility companies worked tirelessly through the weekend to help restore power. More than 160,000 customers remained without power in Florida as of Monday morning, according to the Florida Department of Emergency Management.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

People walk amidst rubble in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

In this Oct. 13, 2018 photo, Clinton Moseley reacts as he surveys a large tree that fell on the home in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

Marla Wood pulls a framed art piece out of the rubble of her damaged home from Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

A member of a South Florida urban search and rescue team sifts through a debris pile for survivors of hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Charles Olmstead wipes off the grand piano that was spared damage inside the heavily damaged St. Andrew United Methodist Church in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018.

(AP Photo/Brendan Farrington)

Cars sit in traffic outside buildings that lost their facades during Hurricane Michael on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Marianna, Florida.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Amber Cousin sits by a window as Amy Lenain naps in a room they now share with multiple people, since their roof was partially torn off in their home in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Springfield, Florida, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

Candace Phillips sifts through what was her third-floor bedroom while returning to her damaged home in Mexico Beach, Florida, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

Electrical poles are prepared for transport as utility workers restore power lines in the aftermath of hurricane Michael in Callaway, Florida, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018.


Residents of Panama City Beach were told to continue to conserve water as power and water has still not been restored to all of the beach.

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Candace Phillips sifts through what was her third-floor bedroom while returning to her damaged home in Mexico Beach, Fla., Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. (AP Photo/David Goldman)


President Trump visited the battered region on Monday before making a stop in Georgia to talk to farmers who suffered significant losses to their crops. The president issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the state on Thursday.

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott surveyed damage in Panama City and Mexico Beach on Sunday along with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Brock Long.

The governor pledged that the state will use every resource it can to help those impacted from Michael.


CNN reported that hundreds of calls were coming in from around the country as people looked to get word on relatives who they haven’t been able to reach following the storm.

With cellular service down or limited in the hardest-hit areas, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have deployed mobile cellular towers to provide service.

“After a catastrophic storm like Hurricane Michael, one of the most important things we can do is make sure families can connect with loved ones, find information on critical services and maintain open lines of communication with emergency response officials,” Scott said. “At my direction, the Florida Highway Patrol has been working hand-in-hand with cellular service provider crews to get them access to service stations where repairs need to be made.”

More than 600 Florida Highway Patrol members have been deployed to the Panhandle.

Nearly 2,000 people remain in 15 shelters. The Florida Department of Education said many school districts are still operating shelters in the wake of the storm.

FEMA said disaster survivor assistance teams were sent to the hardest-hit areas, meeting with residents to help them understand how they could register for federal assistance.

The Gulf County Sheriff’s Office said the St. Joe Natural Gas Company has shut down its entire natural gas system to provide a safe environment for first responders.

Public health officials urged residents to do their part and help prevent mosquito breeding and mosquito-borne illness, which has become a problem in waterlogged areas of the Carolinas that were struck by Hurricane Florence.

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