Hurricane Michael death toll rises to 17

Published: October 13, 2018 12:26:05 | Updated: October 15, 2018 12:18:53

The death toll from Hurricane Michael has risen to 17 across four states of United States, including five in Virginia and eight in Florida, and the authorities expected to climb the number.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long said, "I expect the fatality count to rise today and tomorrow as we get through the debris."

Michael, one of the most powerful hurricanes in US history, left Virginia's coast as a post-tropical low early Friday -- and its trail of destruction will take weeks to take into account.

Senator Sen. Bill Nelson called the devastation as "the worst destruction that the Panhandle has seen for however long that I've been living. It's akin to Hurricane Andrew in 1992 where everything was leveled."

Aerial footage shows coastal cities in the Panhandle, like Mexico Beach, wiped out. Search teams used dogs as they combed the area for people killed or trapped in debris.

One death was reported in Mexico Beach -- that of an elderly man found alone, Mayor Al Cathey said.

The man's name has not been released, but authorities said his body was found several hundred yards away from his home.

City manager Tanya Castro said Mexico Beach won't be up and running for 12 to 18 months.

Nelson said there are not enough resources -- food, shelter and water -- for those in Mexico Beach who stayed and for those residents returning.

In Panama City, he said "there's going to be a period of time that it's difficult to get supplies in," reports CNN.

Dawn Vickers rode out the storm in Mexico Beach, but her house and vehicles were demolished.

Without cell phone service or transportation, she has been taking shelter in one of the few condos left standing, invited by someone she met at what's left of a gas station.

"This has been the worst nightmare I've ever been through in my life," she told CNN on Friday.

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

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