PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the impact of Hurricane Michael’s destructive path across the southeastern U.S. (all times local):
Fri., Oct. 12 -- 8:00 a.m. | NHC issues final advisory on Michael
The National Hurricane Center has issued its final advisory on Michael, now a post-tropical cyclone speeding off over the Atlantic Ocean.
And, impressively, Michael's top sustained winds are growing again, to near 65 mph (100 kph) at 5 a.m., with forecasters saying it will grow stronger still.
It remains very large, with tropical storm-force winds extending outward up to 275 miles (445 kilometers) from its center. A gauge on one offshore buoy recorded a wind gust of nearly hurricane strength.
The Hurricane Center says threats to land are diminishing. There's a minor storm surge still along the North Carolina coast, gale-force winds may continue for a few more hours over the southern Chesapeake Bay area, and several inches of rain is expected from New Jersey up through Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Flash flooding may continue meanwhile in the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic states.
Fri., Oct. 12 -- 6:15 a.m. | Death toll expected to rise as rescue teams reach isolated areas
At least six deaths have been blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in over 50 years.
The sheriff’s office in Gadsden County near Tallahassee says it “can now confirm 4 storm-related fatalities following Hurricane Michael,” all of which happened “in relation to or occurred during the storm.” County officials say they’re not releasing names or other details yet while families are notified.
One of those deaths would be a man killed by a falling tree. An 11-year-old girl in Georgia also died when Michael’s winds picked up a carport and dropped it through the roof of her grandparents’ home. A driver in North Carolina was killed when a tree fell on his car.
Some fear the toll can only rise as rescue teams get around storm debris blocking roads and reach isolated areas.
Fri., Oct. 12 -- 12:06 a.m. | Michael finally moving out to sea off Virginia coast
Hurricane Michael’s pounding waves and winds obliterated row after row of beachfront homes at ground zero on the Florida Panhandle when the epic Category 4 hurricane slammed ashore at midweek. Now recovery is just barely beginning from the catastrophic destruction even as a downgraded Michael spreads high winds, rains and flash flooding misery as far away as Virginia.
At least three deaths have been blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in over 50 years.
By early Friday it wasn’t nearly over yet: a tropical storm long after Wednesday’s landfall, Michael stubbornly kept up its punch while barreling over land toward an expected exit across the open Atlantic. Forecasters say the storm has already begun shedding its tropical characteristics but will take on a new chapter as a powerful extratropical storm with gale force winds on its trek out to sea.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 9:45 p.m. | Michael destroys 84 chicken houses in Georgia
Georgia’s Department of Agriculture is coordinating efforts to assist recovery in Southwest and Central Georgia, areas most affected by Hurricane Michael.
Commissioner Gary W. Black, in a news release Thursday, said crops, animals and infrastructure have all taken a substantial loss because of the storm.
Black says poultry contributes $23.3 billion to Georgia’s economy and has reported the most widespread power outages and losses. He says 84 chicken houses, estimated to have held more than 2 million chickens, were destroyed. The farms, dairies and processing plants affected were in Appling, Colquitt, Coffee, Decatur, Evans, Houston, Mitchell, Randolph, Lee and Wilcox counties.
Damaging winds also drove much of the cotton crop to the ground for a total loss or tangled it, making it harder to extract clean lint during the ginning process. Assessments for peanuts and pecans are ongoing.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 8:10 p.m. | Michael caused estimated $8B in insured losses
An insurance company that produces models for catastrophes is estimating Hurricane Michael caused about $8 billion in insured losses.
Boston-based Karen Clark & Company released the estimate Thursday. It includes the privately insured wind and storm surge damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties and automobiles. The figure does not include losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program.
Michael made landfall as a 155 mph (250 kph), Category 4 storm Wednesday afternoon in Mexico Beach, Florida. The hurricane left a path of destruction through the Florida Panhandle and entered Georgia as a Category 3 storm.
KCC estimates that nearly half of insured loss from Michael occurred in Florida’s Bay and Gulf counties. Total damages from storm surge are estimated to be $3.7 billion, of which about ten percent will be insured.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 7:30 p.m. | 530,000 households in the dark
Fast-moving Michael was leaving North Carolina behind with rivers rising and more than 530,000 households in the dark.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s office said the power outages were concentrated in central North Carolina’s Piedmont region, as trees and power lines toppled under the pressure of winds of up to 60 mph (97 kph).
Heavy rains dumping up to 7 inches (18 centimeters) in some areas were making flooding a serious threat.
Flash flooding was snarling the state’s two largest cities, Charlotte and Raleigh, as well as the university town of Chapel Hill. Dozens of swift water rescues and evacuations were needed in the Piedmont region as well as the state’s mountains and foothills.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 6:35 p.m. | Hospital running on emergency generators
State officials say Hurricane Michael left Florida’s largest psychiatric hospital “entirely cut off.”
A spokesman with the Florida Department of Children and Families says Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee has been running on emergency generators. A helicopter dropped water and food at the facility on Thursday after a tree downed during the storm caused a water line to break.
Landlines and cellphones are also down at the hospital, which has nearly 1,000 residents and more than 300 staff. Staff are using emergency radios to stay in contact with first responders.
Many roads in and around the facility are blocked, but 50 staff from two other state mental health facilities are being brought in to assist.
Patients at the facility have been committed involuntarily either through civil or criminal cases.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 5:30 p.m. | Life-threatening flash floods and powerful winds in N.C.
As Tropical Storm Michael rolls across North Carolina, it’s continuing to produce life-threatening flash flooding and powerful winds.
The National Weather Service said the storm was centered about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Raleigh at 5 p.m. Thursday and heading northeast at 24 mph (39 kph) with winds of up to 50 mph (80 kph). It was expected to keep on the same track but head even faster and cross into Virginia during the evening.
Michael was sending dangerous wind gusts over portions of Virginia and central and eastern North Carolina.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 230 miles (370 kilometers) mainly over water to the southeast of the center.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 5:10 p.m. | Over 300,000 without power in N.C.
North Carolina’s electric utilities reported over 390,000 outages at 5 p.m., as a weakened but still formidable Michael gusted through the state.
A large number of the power outages were in a swath from Greensboro and Winston-Salem southwest to Charlotte. Duke Energy alone reported about 307,000 of these outages.
Earlier Thursday, North Carolina authorities said a driver has died after a tree fell on his car as Michael’s wind and rain lashed the state.
It happened in Iredell County, north of Charlotte, where authorities have reported strong winds and numerous roads closed by flash flooding.
The storm came ashore on Florida’s Gulf coast as a Category 4 hurricane before weakening to tropical storm status over Georgia.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 2:25 p.m. | Expert says officials should study why people refuse evacuation orders
A Florida hurricane expert says officials need to study why so many people refuse to evacuate ahead of a deadly storm such as Hurricane Michael.
Craig Fugate is former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a former emergency management chief for the state of Florida.
Fugate is skeptical of reports that 285 people refused to obey mandatory evacuation orders, though he did not doubt that many people in the Panhandle felt like they could not afford to evacuate or thought the storm would not hit so hard.
He said, “Why people didn’t evacuate is something we should be studying ... Is there more the government can do? But we ask that every time.”
He also said preventing more devastation in future hurricanes depends on people abandoning arguments that stringent building codes make homes too costly or difficult to build.
He called that “the realistic future Florida must face.” He added, “We have to build better, more resilient homes so hurricanes aren’t so devastating. It’s not that we don’t know how to build them.”
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 2:15 p.m. | Michael speeding over Carolinas
Forecasters say Tropical Storm Michael is speeding over the Carolinas on its way to the Atlantic Ocean.
The National Hurricane Center says the storm is moving northeast at 23 mph (37 kph) with top sustained winds have dropped to 50 mph (85 kph).
Forecasters say Michael’s heavy rains are causing flash flooding across parts of North Carolina and southern Virginia. Up to 7 inches (18 centimeters) of rain could fall in some parts of the the two states.
At 2 p.m. EDT, the storm was centered about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Greensboro, North Carolina. It was expected to emerge over the ocean Thursday night.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 1:55 p.m. | Rick Scott asks for two-week delay in debate
Florida’s governor is asking for a two-week delay in a debate with the Democratic incumbent in the U.S. Senate race so he can focus on response and recovery from Hurricane Michael.
Republican Gov. Rick Scott issued a statement Thursday asking CNN to postpone the debate with Sen. Bill Nelson, which was originally scheduled Oct. 16.
Scott cited “catastrophic destruction caused by Hurricane Michael,” and said he’s certain Nelson agrees the response should be a priority.
He said, “We appreciate CNN understanding the dire situation in North Florida,” and added, that Scott “will have no time for campaigning in the next few weeks as he focuses exclusively on recovery efforts for the foreseeable future.”
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 1:30 p.m. | Governor of Virginia declares state of emergency
Virginia’s governor has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Michael’s remnant passing through the state.
Gov. Ralph Northam issued the declaration Thursday and urged Virginians to prepare for possible flash floods, strong winds, tornadoes and power outages.
Northam said the declaration would also allow Virginia to help neighboring states deal with cleaning up after Michael.
Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm after slamming into the Florida panhandle Wednesday.
Deadly tornadoes hit Virginia last month as the remains of Hurricane Florence made its way over the state.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 1:30 p.m. | Panama City Beach escapes worst of Michael
The Florida resort city of Panama City Beach appears to have escaped the worst of Hurricane Michael.
While houses along the city’s beachfront had broken windows and missing shingles, the destruction was nowhere near that sustained by Mexico Beach or even Panama City, just 10 miles to the east.
Panama City Beach’s streets were remarkably free of sand and falling trees, the kind of debris making rescue and recovery efforts so difficult in other areas hit by the storm.
Michael roared ashore Wednesday as a powerful Category 4 hurricane near Mexico Beach, rendering the town nearly unrecognizable.
Panama City Beach was mostly empty Thursday because residents and tourists alike heeded the evacuation order. The city had no electricity at 1 p.m. Thursday but few power lines were down.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 1:10 p.m. | Tallahassee stores running on generators, traffic busy despite police warning
The power is still out for most customers in Tallahassee. People love the trees in Florida’s state capital, where canopy roads have large oak trees on both sides of some streets that branch out and meet each other above the traffic.
The area also has above-ground utility lines and often loses power when branches fall during severe storms.
Many of these trees were lost to Hurricane Michael, but the city has quickly cleared them from the busiest roadways. Grocery stores, gas stations and drug stores are open and running on generator power, traffic is busy despite police warning people to stay off the roads so utility crews can better restore power.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 12:50 p.m. | Tyndall Air Force Base closed from to assess damage
Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida will remain closed while officials assess what they’re calling “widespread catastrophic damage” from Hurricane Matthew.
Base leaders say no injuries were reported, but an initial assessment found roof damage to “nearly every home” on the base, which is very near where the center of the Category 4 storm made landfall.
Col. Brian Laidlaw, commander of the 325th Fighter Wing, said on Facebook that “Tyndall residents and evacuated personnel should remain at their safe location.” His mandatory evacuation order applied to some 600 families living on the base. He later warned personnel to make plans for an extended time away.
Laidlaw says they’re “developing plans to reunite families” and “provide safe passage back to base housing.”
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 12:40 p.m. | North Carolina lashed by rain from Michael
The western part of North Carolina is being lashed by bands of rain from Hurricane Michael, causing some water rescues and a landslide that closed a road.
Gov. Roy Cooper urged all residents to be on alert as the storm blows through the state. He said officials were monitoring several rivers for potential flooding in the central, eastern and western parts of the state, though not the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Florence last month.
In western North Carolina’s Henderson County, emergency services director Jimmy Brissie said first responders have been busy since the early morning helping people in cars trapped in high water and residents who need help leaving low-lying areas.
He said about 20 people were pulled out of neighborhoods inundated by flash flooding. He said he’s not aware of any injuries.
McDowell County emergency services director Adrienne Jones said a landslide closed a road, and a swift-water rescue crew pulled a man to safety in Buncombe County. In Asheville, two people in a hammock who found themselves surrounded by floodwater were pulled onto an inflatable boat.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 12:30 p.m. | 285 people have refused to leave in Mexico Beach
Thousands of National Guard troops, law enforcement officers and medical teams are working their way into damaged communities to search for survivors of Hurricane Michael.
What authorities don’t want are evacuees trying to come back to check on their properties. Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford says residents aren’t being allowed past checkpoints until crews clean up downed power lines and trees.
Florida emergency officials say the devastation is so massive that it remains unclear if people who ignored evacuation orders were killed.
Authorities said that 285 people in Mexico Beach refused to leave, and many homes in that community were washed away. A National Guard team found 20 survivors there overnight and more crews were working through the wreckage on Thursday.
Hospitals and nursing homes are so damaged in the Panama City area that ambulances and helicopters are being used to ferry patients elsewhere.
Michael remained a hurricane for 12 hours and 200 miles as it moved over Florida and Georiga, and other teams are looking at reports of possible tornado damage well inland.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 12:15 p.m. | Storm surge ranged from 9 feet to 14 feet
Experts at the National Hurricane Center say Hurricane Michael’s devastating storm surge reached as high as 14 feet (4.27 meters) in some areas of Florida’s Gulf coast.
The center’s storm surge unit said Thursday that peak storm surge ranged from 9 feet (2.7 meters) to 14 feet (4.27 meters) from Mexico Beach east through Apalachee Bay.
Officials said the highest storm surge hit near Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe, based on available observations and post-landfall models.
Officials had been warning that the surge of water pushed by the storm could be as serious as the hurricane’s punishing winds. The threat of the storm prompted local officials to order mandatory evacuations in several Florida coastal counties.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 11:55 a.m. | Coroner identifies body of 11-year-old girl killed in Georgia
A coroner has identified the 11-year-old girl who was killed as Hurricane Michael blew through south Georgia.
Seminole County coroner Chad Smith on Thursday identified the girl as Sarah Radney.
Smith said an official cause of death had not been determined but that it would likely be massive blunt force trauma.
Seminole County Emergency Management Agency director Travis Brooks said strong winds picked up a portable carport Wednesday and dropped it down on the roof of the home where the girl was inside. One of the carport’s legs punctured the roof and hit the girl in the head.
Seminole County is in the southwest corner of Georgia.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 11:50 a.m. | Hospital evacuating due to damage
The largest hospitals in Panama City are shutting down and evacuating patients due to heavy damage from Hurricane Michael.
Officials at Bay Medical Sacred Heart announced that they’re transferring about 200 patients to hospitals in Pensacola and Jacksonville, and to Mobile, Alabama.
Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center says it has suspended all services and is evacuating patients as well.
Sacred Heart’s statement says the transfers began at 3 a.m. Thursday with 39 critical care patients and would take about 48 hours to complete.
Damage at Sacred Heart includes blown-out windows, a cracked exterior wall and a roof collapse in a maintenance building that stores supplies necessary for long-term care. The hospital says no patients were injured and its emergency room remains open on generator power.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 11:35 a.m. | Georgia Gov. urges residents to be patient
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is urging people in the Hurricane Michael disaster area to “be patient.” He says emergency crews need to do their work to clear debris from roadways and restore power to hundreds of thousands of residents. Deal said about 450,000 power outages were reported in Georgia, and one death, that of an 11-year-old girl in the southwest corner of the state.
Deal says the primary mission at this point is to clear roadways so that officials can assess the damage.
Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black predicts long-lasting damage to the state’s farms. He says pecan crops are badly affected and entire fields of cotton are completely wiped out.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 11:25 a.m. | Judge rejects request to extend voter registration deadline
A federal judge is rejecting a push to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline because of Hurricane Michael, saying there’s “no justification” to do so.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled late Wednesday against the Florida Democratic Party, which called the Republican-led response to the storm’s disruption confusing and inadequate.
Florida’s deadline to register to vote was Tuesday, 29 days ahead of the Nov. 6 election.
Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner told local election supervisors that if their offices were closed Tuesday due to the hurricane, then they could accept paper applications for a single day once their offices reopen.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 10:10 a.m. | 20 people found after surviving direct hit from Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach
Gov. Rick Scott says the Florida National Guard got into Mexico Beach and found 20 people who survived a direct hit from Hurricane Michael.
The town where the hurricane made landfall Wednesday remained very difficult to reach by land a day later, with roads covered by fallen trees, power lines and other storm debris.
Overhead video from a CNN helicopter Thursday morning reveals widespread devastation across the town of about 1,000 people.
Entire blocks of homes near the beach have been washed away, leaving nothing but concrete slabs in the sand. Rows and rows of other homes are smashed to pieces or crunched to the ground and leaning at odd angles.
The town was under a mandatory evacuation order as the rapidly developing storm targeted the coast, but some people were determined to ride out the hurricane.
↓ Watch full update from Rick Scott ↓
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 9:30 a.m. | Search and rescue teams search for those who rode out Hurricane Michael
Waves of search and rescue teams are fanning out across the Florida Panhandle looking for people who rode out Hurricane Michael.
The U.S. Coast Guard in Mobile, Alabama, says its crews have rescued 27 people, mostly from damaged homes.
Petty Officer Third Class Ronald Hodges told The Associated Press that a Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew pulled nine people from a bathroom of their Panama City home after their roof collapsed Wednesday afternoon.
Crews were out early Thursday searching for more victims. He says the number of rescues remains fluid and there were no reports of deaths so far from the Coast Guard’s missions.
Florida emergency officials say they’re starting to transfer patients out of damaged health care facilities. They’re also trying to figure out the extent of damage to roads and bridges. A huge swath of Interstate 10, the main east-west route near the coast, is blocked off due to damage.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 9:15 a.m. | 11-year-old girl hit, killed by carport
Authorities are correcting early reports about the death of an 11-year-old girl as Hurricane Michael blew over southwest Georgia.
Seminole County Emergency Management Agency director Travis Brooks said it wasn’t a tree but a carport that hit her home and killed her.
He said strong winds picked up a portable carport Wednesday and dropped it down on the roof. One of the carport’s legs punctured the roof and hit the 11-year-old girl in the head.
Brooks said he wasn’t able to get out much overnight to fully assess the damage in the county, because downed power lines and trees made roads impassable in the darkness. But he said the sheriff told him it looked like a bomb had gone off.
Thurs., Oct. 11 -- 6:45 a.m.| FHP closes 80-mile stretch of I-10
The Florida Highway Patrol has closed an 80-mile stretch of Interstate 10 to clear debris from Hurricane Michael.
In an email sent early Thursday, spokesman Eddie Elmore said the road was closed “due to extremely hazardous conditions.”
The agency is working with the Florida Department of Transportation to clear the interstate which is the major east-west route across northern Florida and the Panhandle.
Elmore said the road is closed west of Tallahassee, between mile marker 85 near DeFuniak Springs and mile marker 166 near Lake Seminole.
The email didn’t say how long the work was expected to take.
Wed., Oct. 10 -- 8:45 p.m. | Michael weakens to Category 1
Hurricane Michael has begun weakening as it charges across southwestern Georgia with damaging winds and rains. It has dropped from a once formidable Category 4 to a bottom-tier Category 1 storm.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the eye of Michael was about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Albany, Georgia, at 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday. It had top sustained winds of 90 mph (145 kph) and was moving to the northeast at 17 mph (27 kph).
Forecasters say storm flooding is still occurring along the Florida Gulf Coast after Michael crashed ashore Wednesday afternoon as a fierce storm with 155 mph winds. The storm is expected to head to the northeast as it crosses south and central Georgia into the Carolinas in coming hours.
Wed., Oct. 10 -- 7:25 p.m. | Confirmed Reports of Looting
Bay County has confirmed reports of looting in Panama City and has issued a mandatory curfew from dawn to dusk, starting immediately.
"Please understand this has been a serious storm and we have damage like we have never seen before," said Deputy Chief Bradley Monroe.
Sheriff Tommy Ford said, "This was our worst fear and there is a lot of damage."
The county has been hampered by communication issues. Internet and phone lines are down, but 911 is still operational in Bay County.
Many roads are impassible and want people to stay away if they evacuated. They are also getting reports of structural collapses, but they have not been able to respond to due to impassable roads.
Wed., Oct. 10 -- 7:07 p.m. | One person killed by Hurricane Michael
Sheriff's official tells the Associated Press that one person is dead in the Florida Panhandle. He was killed at home by falling tree during Hurricane Michael's passage. Gadsden County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Anglie Hightower says they received a call around 6 p.m. Wednesday, saying a tree had crashed through the roof of the man's Greenboro home and trapped him. Emergency crews were heading to the home, but downed power lines and blocked roads were making the trip difficult.
Wed., Oct. 10 -- 6:07 p.m. | Gov. Rick Scott says thousands of responders will embark
Florida Gov. Rick Scott says search and rescue teams are heading into the state's hardest-hit areas to help survivors of Hurricane Michael. He says flash flooding and tornadoes are still possible and says officials have heard reports of at least two tornadoes in Florida.
Wed., Oct. 10 -- 6:04 p.m. | Power outages in Florida
There are currently 388,331 power outages reported in the state of Florida, according to FloridaDisaster.org
Wed., Oct. 10 -- 5:02 p.m. | Bayshore Blvd. reopens in Tampa
Wed., Oct. 10 -- 5:00 p.m. | Hurricane Michael downgraded
Hurricane Michael is slowly weakening. The monster storm is still a Category 3 storm with 125 mph winds.
Wed., Oct. 10 -- 4:52 p.m. | Hospital Damaged in Panama City
Bay Medical Sacred Heart reported damage to the hospital including blown out windows, a cracked exterior wall and roof damage. Hospital is working on generator power and patients are in safe areas of the hospital.
Wed., Oct. 10 -- 4:00 p.m. | Portions of Bayshore Blvd closed in Tampa
NB Bayshore Blvd. closed at Rome due to localized flooding. Isabel Rosales brings us this report.
Wed., Oct. 10 -- 2:00 p.m. | Citrus County Schools will be closed Thursday due to Hurricane Michael