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Florida: Grim search through ruined landscape after Michael

Florida: Grim search through ruined landscape after Michael

The Walt Disney Company has pledged $1 million to aid in relief efforts across Florida's Gulf Coast and other areas impacted by Hurricane Michael.

Governor Rick Scott says "so many lives have been changed forever, and so many families have lost everything". "And the damage left in its wake is still yet to be fully understood".

The center of Michael "will continue to accelerate to the east-northeast through Thursday night across North Carolina into southeast Virginia, then move off the East Coast out to sea by Friday as a post-tropical low", according to weather.com. The couple were assessing damage and trying to help neighbors on Thursday.

"Things, we can replace", he said, speaking on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront".

Rescuers searched for survivors on Friday after one of the most powerful hurricanes in USA history slammed into the Florida Panhandle and killed at least seven people.

By comparison Tropical Storm Nadine, which is churning west from the coast of Africa, is facing the same level of wind shear that Michael faced, or up to 25 miles per hour.

Nearly one-and-a-half million customers were without power from Florida to Virginia on Thursday night.

Michael is the first major hurricane to blow into Georgia since 1898.

Although the storm weakened as it reached North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper warned citizens to remain vigilant. Klotzbach said scientists will use Michael to better study the effects of wind shear on tropical storms.

Linda Marquardt, 67, rode out the storm with her husband at their home in Mexico Beach. Flash flooding also was reported in the big North Carolina cities of Charlotte and Raleigh.

A man was killed when a tree fell on a residence in Greensboro, Florida, Sgt. Anglie Hightower, a spokeswoman for the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office, told NBC News.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator William "Brock" Long said that authorities as of Friday morning had confirmed 11 deaths in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. Officials didn't say whether anyone else was in the vehicle.

The storm, which came ashore as a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, tore apart entire neighborhoods in the Panhandle, reducing homes and businesses to piles of wood and siding, damaging roads and leaving scenes of devastation. "'A river just started coming down the road".

In Pittsylvania County, Virginia, 45-year-old James King Jr. died after his auto was caught in a flash flood and he was swept away, state police said.

"We don't know if it's going to wipe out our house or not", Jason McDonald, of Panama City, said as he and his wife drove north into Alabama with their two children, ages 5 and 7.

He said that authorities were yet to fully explore areas like Mexico Beach in Florida, which he called "ground zero" after it was pummelled by the hurricane.

The hurricane also damaged hospitals and nursing homes in the Panama City area, and officials worked to evacuate hundreds of patients.

"Mexico Beach needs your prayers", Albrecht said of the town of about 1,200 people.

"It's OK if you want to live on the coast or on top of a mountain that sees wildfires or whatever but you have to build to a higher standard", he said. An 80-mile (130-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 10, the main east-west route along the Panhandle, was closed.

It could be weeks before power is restored to the most damaged parts of Florida, such as Panama City.

The president told reporters that those affected by the storm were in his prayers, and he said the administration "will not rest or waver" until recovery was complete. But "we have to make sure things are safe".

"It's total devastation - no power, no water, no communication", she said.

"It was so scary you'd poo yourself", said retiree Tom Garcia, 60, who was trapped inside his Mexico Beach home as water poured in to waist height.

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