Michael kills at least 17, cuts power to over 1.5 million as it carves path of destruction from Florida to Virginia

By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather staff writer
October 14, 2018, 5:25:51 AM EDT


Days after crashing into the Florida Panhandle as the third-most intense landfalling hurricane in United States history, Michael drifted out to sea Friday morning as a post-tropical cyclone.

The potent storm caused deadly and damaging impacts throughout its lifespan from a near Category 5 hurricane along the Florida coast to a heavy rain-producing tropical storm that caused flooding issues in Virginia and the Carolinas.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

A bedroom of a destroyed house is pictured following Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2018.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman)

People inspect a Waffle House damaged by Hurricane Michael in Callaway, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018.

Jonathan Bachman

A McDonald's sign damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Panama City Beach, Florida, U.S. October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

(Photo/ Brandon Clement)

A fighter jet is seen upside down after Hurricane Michael.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman)

An American flag flies amongst rubble left in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

People walk amidst destruction on the main street of Mexico Beach, Fla., in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

(Photo/ Brandon Clement)

Hurricane Michael caused extensive damage to homes and boats in Florida. (Photo/ Brandon Clement)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

A storm chaser climbs into his vehicle during the eye of Hurricane Michael to retrieve equipment after a hotel canopy collapsed in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

(Photo/ Brandon Clement)

Extensive damage of an RV lot can be seen from above after Hurricane Michael struck Florida.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Kaylee O'Brian weeps inside her home after several trees fell on it during Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

A woman checks on her vehicle as Hurricane Michael passes through, after the hotel canopy had just collapsed, in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

(Photo/ Brandon Clement)

Hurricane Michael caused extensive damage to buildings and property.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Hotel employees look at a canopy that just collapsed, as Hurricane Michael passes through in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

(Photo/ Brandon Clement)

Catastophic destruction of homes can be seen from above after Hurricane Michael.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

People cut away a tree that'll on a vehicle in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Hurricane Michael caused widespread damage across Florida, including these rail cars in Panama City Beach.

(Photo/ Brandon Clement)

Catastrophic damage can be seen above Mexico Beach, Florida, after Hurricane Michael.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Shredded trees, derailed train cars and a sunken trailer are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

(Photo/Tallahassee Police)

A large tree brought down power lines in Tallahassee, Florida, on Wednesday.

(Photo/ Brandon Clement)

A bulldozer begins the massive cleanup effort after Hurricane Michael.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Firefighter Austin Schlarb performs a door to door search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Rescue personnel perform a search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

A boat sits amidst debris in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

Destruction is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Colin Hunt/Handout via REUTERS

Damaged and destroyed buildings are seen in an aerial photograph, taken during a post-Hurricane Michael flight by a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter over Mexico Beach, Florida.

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Homes destroyed by Hurricane Michael are shown in this aerial photo Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Mexico Beach, Fla.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Rescue personnel search amidst debris in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

(Photo/ International Space Station)

The International Space Station captured this image of Hurricane Michael as it passed by overhead.

(Photo/ International Space Station)

Hurricane Michael was one of the most intense storms on record.

(Photo/ International Space Station)

Michael also had some of the highest winds on record. The ISS captured the eye as it orbited overhead.

(Photo/ Walton County Sheriff Department)

A sailboat is pummeled by Hurricane Michael at Pilcher Park.

(AP Photo/Russ Bynum)

Rex Buzzett, far left, his son Josh Buzzett and neighbor Hilda Duren stand outside the Buzzett’s home, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, that was gutted by a storm surge in Port St. Joe, Fla.

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The storm has claimed at least 17 lives across Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. Over 1.5 million people remained without power as of Friday morning.

In a Friday morning press conference, Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said he expects the death toll to increase over the next several days.

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Florida

President Trump has declared a major disaster for Florida and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery.

Michael totally devastated several coastal communities along the Florida coastline including Mexico Beach, located near where Michael made landfall. The storm arrived with winds of 155 mph, just 2 mph shy of Category 5 status.

A combination of extreme winds and an inundating storm surge wiped many homes completely off their foundations, leaving neighborhoods desolate.


Some of the hardest-hit counties are on Florida’s northwestern Gulf Coast including Bay, Franklin, Gulf, Taylor and Wakulla.

Four fatalities were reported in Gadsen County, near Tallahassee, the Gadsen County Sheriff’s Office said.

Due to many roadways being left either washed out or covered in debris and power lines, officials urged residents to remain in their homes or avoid returning to their neighborhood if they evacuated as they continued search and rescue operations.

A wind gust of 129 mph was reported at Tyndall Air Force Base, which suffered extensive damage from the storm.


Col. Brian S. Laidlaw, Commander 325th Fighter Wing, said the "base took a beating" and there is a "need to restore basic utilities, clear our roads of trees and power lines, and assess the structural integrity of our buildings."

“Every building has severe damage. Many buildings are a complete loss,” Air Force officials at the base said in a statement.

Georgia

Michael’s wrath extended inland as it remained at major hurricane strength into southwestern Georgia.

Michael also unleashed several tornadoes, including one that damaged half a dozen homes in central Georgia's Crawford County.

One fatality was reported in the state. An 11-year-old girl in Georgia was killed after Michael’s winds picked up a carport and dropped it through the roof of her grandparents’ home, the Associated Press reported.

More than 160,000 remained without power in the state as of Friday morning.

President Trump also declared a major disaster for Georgia.

North Carolina

While North Carolina continued their recovery following Florence’s damage nearly a month ago, Michael tore across the state on its journey through the Southeast.

Michael maintained tropical storm strength as it tracked over the Tarheel State with strong winds and heavy rain. The intense winds knocked down scores of trees and cut power to thousands.

"For North Carolina, Michael isn't as bad as Florence, but it adds unwelcome insult to injury, so we must be on alert," Gov. Roy Cooper said.

Winds up to 50 mph were reported in some areas.

One person was killed outside of Charlotte when a tree crashed onto a car, fatally striking the driver.

Dozens of roads were closed throughout the state as high water made them impassible.

Michael pounded the state on Thursday afternoon before moving north into Virginia later Thursday.

Virginia

Still at tropical storm strength, Michael left at least five dead in Virginia.

Four people were swept away by high water on roadways. Officials urged everyone to avoid any type of flooded road on Friday morning. Thousands of roads throughout the state were closed due to flooding.

One firefighter was killed in a vehicle crash while responding to the storm.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency to respond to the storm’s impacts.

Roads were also covered in debris as the strong winds toppled trees and power lines. Strong winds left more than half a million without power into Friday morning.

Michael spawned five suspected tornadoes across the state as well, adding to the damage.

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