Search teams fan out to reach Hurricane Michael’s victims

Death Toll Rises As Michael Moves Along US Coast

Death Toll Rises As Michael Moves Along US Coast

"I'm very concerned about our citizens that didn't evacuate and I just hope that, you know, we don't have much loss of life", Scott told ABC.

Search and rescue teams are combing through shattered USA communities looking for victims of Hurricane Michael, which carved out a swathe of destruction in the Florida Panhandle, killing at least six in three states.

"We were pleased that carriers had pre-positioned equipment and were in the process deploying cells on wheels (COWs) and cells on light trucks (COLTs) in order to get wireless service up and running in many locations", Pai said in a statement.

Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of more than 249 km/h Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighbourhoods before continuing its march inland.

Officials said more than 400,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in Florida and Governor Scott said almost 20,000 utility workers had been deployed to restore power.

Winds up to 155mph uprooted trees and brought down power lines - with federal officials warning it may be several weeks before utilities are restored to some areas.

Some of the worst damage was in Mexico Beach, where the hurricane crashed ashore Wednesday as a Category 4 monster with 155 miles per hour (250 kph) winds and a storm surge of 9 feet (2.7 meters).

After making landfall on Wednesday afternoon in Florida, Michael's fierce winds and heavy rain struck Georgia, where it was downgraded to a tropical storm and later reached the Carolinas.

Some of the most devastating pictures came from the tiny city of Mexico Beach - southeast of Panama City.

Footage of a Waffle House in Panama City, that was damaged after a large pole fell on top of it during Hurricane Michael.

"Our biggest thing is the downed lines and the downed trees", said Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson. Entire roofs were torn away and dropped onto a road. Aluminium siding was shredded to ribbons.

Hundreds of cars had broken windows and twisted street signs lay on the ground. Homes were split open by fallen trees.

In Panama City, buildings were crushed, tall pine trees were sent flying and a steeple was knocked off a church.

More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were ordered or urged to clear out as Michael closed in.

The Category 4 hurricane once had wind speeds of up to 155 miles per hour.

With a low barometric pressure recorded at 919 millibars, the measure of a hurricane's force, it ranked as the third strongest storm on record to make landfall in the continental United States.

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