HURRICANE Michael has killed 18 people – with that figure expected to rise sharply – as rescue teams hunt for 2,100 people missing in the debris.
The deadly storm battered the US pan handle leaving a trail of devastation in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.
AP:Associated Press A family surveys the aftermath of Hurricane Michael which has killed at least 18
Hurricane Michael – the latest news:
The ‘hell’ storm slammed into Florida with devastating 155mph winds Seven were killed including a Sarah Radney, 11, who was crushed by a metal gazebo Some 1.4million people, and 1million homes, are now without power in the region It caused a 14ft high storm surge which submerged and tore apart homes 320,000 people disregarded mandatory or voluntary evacuation notices 280 residents of Mexico Beach who ignored evacuation orders are missing It has now been downgraded to a tropical storm after mauling Florida Michael is now churning towards North and South Carolina
Rescue teams are using cadaver dogs and drones to search through the worst hit regions on the Florida coast.
The death toll is expected to rise dramatically in coming days.
Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said: “We still haven’t gotten into some of the hardest-hit areas.”
Cops have made rafts of arrests as people loot belongisngs from abandoned buildings.
Reuters Cops arrest looters stealing from abandoned buildings
Reuters A destroyed boat is pictured following Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida
Reuters Rescue teams search the rubble for survivors
AP:Associated Press The biblical storm laid waste to parts of Florida and Georgia Aerial footage shows ‘unimaginable destruction’ left by Hurricane Michael as US storm hit Florida
An estimated 20,000 people hunkered down in shelters during Hurricane Michael, with as many as 320,000 people on Florida’s Gulf Coast ignoring evacuation notices.
Mr Long added: “Rescuers have so far been unable to conduct thorough searches there. I think you’re going to see it climb.”
Oceanfront communities such as Mexico Beach and Panama City bore the brunt of the storm’s rage.
Shocking photos show the devastation in Mexico Beach – with some onlookers claiming the seaside town looked like it had been struck by a nuclear bomb.
AP:Associated Press Sarah Radney, 11, was killed when a metal gazebo crashed through her home and crushed her
AFP or licensors Shocking photos show the devastation in Mexico Beach
AFP or licensors Some onlookers claimed the seaside town looked like it had been struck by a nuclear bomb
AP:Associated Press Elsewhere, Michael caused a 14ft high storm surge which submerged homes
AP:Associated Press It has also been degraded to a tropical storm – but not before tearing through homes and ripping roofs off buildings
Sarah Radney, 11, was killed when a metal-framed gazebo was picked up by winds and then crashed through the roof of her home on to her head.
According to Seminole County Emergency Management Agency Director Travis Brooks the schoolgirl died when the tent – used to cover a boat – was sent flying by the high winds.
He said 911 crews were able to get to Sarah at her devastated home in Georgia, at 1.50am this morning but she was already dead.
Landfall of Hurricane Michael over Florida seen from Space
Reuters An aerial view shows debris strewn through the streets of Mexico Beach, Florida
Rex Features Dozens of private boats lie damaged in a harbour
Rex Features Damage to roofs can be seen in this image
AFP or licensors The hurricane has devastated coastal areas
Reuters The catastrophic storm has also left 1.4million without power
Elsewhere, Michael caused a 14ft high storm surge which submerged homes.
It has also been degraded to a tropical storm – but not before tearing through homes and ripping roofs off buildings.
Michael caught many by surprise as it intensified from a tropical storm into a Category 4 hurricane in about 40 hours.