Rescuers fear more dead in Michael's path

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Volunteer firefighters and the State Police later found his body downstream Thursday night.

In a briefing at the state emergency operations center in Tallahassee on Friday evening, authorities said they had wrapped up their initial rapid searches and had begun more-intense searches including inspecting collapsed buildings. It adds that Hanover County firefighter Lt. Brad Clark was killed and several others were injured when a tractor trailer rear-ended a fire truck that was stopped at a crash site.

"It's not just a coastal issue", Graham said, warning that people will "start seeing this rain, start seeing this wind stretch further inland".

Authorities say two others in his crew were seriously injured. The death toll stood at 11 across the South.

Of the five deaths in Virginia, four were from drowning, according to member station WVTF.

Department of Emergency Management spokesman Jeff Caldwell told The Associated Press on Friday that four people drowned: three in the western part of the state and a fourth in central Virginia.

Emergency officials said they have received thousands of calls asking about missing people.

"I will not recall you and your families until we can guarantee your safety".

It first made landfall just west of Mexico Beach as a strong category four hurricane, with wind speeds measured around 155 miles per hour. "Panama City is catastrophic damage". Videos of the damaged base show roofs ripped off hangars and a fighter jet on display toppled onto the ground. High winds toppled trees and power lines.

Early Friday morning, Michael was dropping rain along the Mid-Atlantic and New England coasts as it moves eastward over the ocean, with sustained winds that have strengthened to 65 miles per hour.

Winds were extending up to 445 kilometres from its centre and could strengthen again to about 100 kilometres an hour in areas along the East Coast. A gauge on one offshore buoy recorded a wind gust of almost hurricane strength.

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Photos and videos show mass destruction from 'Monstrous' Michael in Florida
Michael ploughed into Florida's Panhandle coast on Wednesday, one of the strongest storms to ever hit the USA mainland. The base's aircraft, which include F-22 Raptors, were flown hundreds of miles away as a precaution.

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After moving offshore in recent weeks, a toxic algae bloom has returned to the beaches of the Tampa area, blown in from Hurricane Michael.

Michael then roared through southwest Georgia and into North and SC, states that are still reeling from historic flooding left by Hurricane Florence last month.

Flash flooding was also reported in the big North Carolina cities of Charlotte and Raleigh.

The number of dead was expected to rise, but authorities scrapped plans for setting up a temporary morgue, indicating they had yet to see signs of mass casualties from the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental almost 50 years.

Some Florida neighborhoods look like they have been wiped off the map in the wake of Hurricane Michael. County officials say they're not releasing names or other details yet while families are notified. One man, William Lynn Tanksley, 53, was swept from his vehicle during flash flooding at around 5 p.m. Thursday.

An 11-year-old girl, Sarah Radney, was killed on Wednesday when a carport was torn away and was sent hurtling into a modular home in Seminole County, Georgia. A driver in North Carolina was killed when a tree fell on his vehicle.

The full extent of Michael's fury was only slowly becoming clear, with some of the hardest-hit areas difficult to reach with roads blocked by debris or water.

A storm undergoes rapid intensification when its maximum sustained winds increase at least 35 mph in 24 hours or less, according to the National Hurricane Center.

At least three deaths have been blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental over 50 years.

However, fueled by abnormally warm water in the Gulf of Mexico, it rose from a tropical depression to a Category 2 hurricane October 9, before gaining Category 4 status early October 10. "Mexico Beach, there's no barrier island out there to protect it so it got the full force of the Category 4 wind and that wall of water".