Before and After Satellite Images Show Hurricane Michael's Devastation in Florida

Benny Hobson 69 sits in what is left of his home in Panama City Florida

Benny Hobson 69 sits in what is left of his home in Panama City Florida

Hurricane Michael's death toll rose to 16 on Friday (Oct 12) and was expected to climb higher as emergency workers searched rubble and the storm's grim consequences stretched from the Florida Panhandle into Virginia.

The U.S. death toll from Hurricane Michael rose to 16 on Friday, law enforcement officials said, as rescue crews began searching hardest-hit communities in the Florida panhandle rendered almost inaccessible by storm damage.

"The videos that you guys see and pictures you guys see does not tell the story of what is down here, you can't even put a roof on because there's no houses to put the roofs on, they're destroyed it looks like they lined up ten tornadoes and went through" Sauer said.

"This is a war zone".

U.S. army personnel used heavy equipment to push a path through debris in Mexico Beach to allow rescuers through to search for trapped residents, survivors or casualties, as Blackhawk helicopters circled overhead.

Ranked four on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale and with a storm surge of 9ft (2.7m), it lifted homes from their foundations and heavily damaged others in districts closest to the sea in Mexico Beach, CNN helicopter footage showed.

"So many lives have been changed forever".

State officials said Mexico Beach was under mandatory evacuation orders but some residents made a decision to stay and try to ride out the storm. State crews cleared more than 900 fallen trees, said a report.

Nearby Panama City Beach experienced similar damage along with other communities along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico.

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Roy Radney was outside Wednesday evening when the call came that something had come through the roof and hit Sarah and his mother. "So I followed the mandatory evacuation order and left with my wife".

Officials in McDowell County announced two additional deaths after a vehicle struck a downed tree in Marion, North Carolina. "I have been trying to patch it up the best I can".

Cathey has lived in Mexico Beach for 65 years. This was her dream retirement place she tells me - the last four years spent doing it up. "I just need to know".

Rescue teams were in the initial stages of combing the region razed by a Category 4 hurricane that flattened blocks, collapsed buildings and left infrastructure crippled, the New York Times reported.

By early Friday morning it had moved into the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Norfolk, Virginia, the National Hurricane Center said. Three additional deaths were reported in Marianna, in Jackson County, Florida, Sheriff Lou Roberts told a news conference on Friday afternoon.

"People have no idea how hard Hurricane Michael has hit the great state of Georgia", Trump tweeted.

According to AAA, the gas outages are mainly in Florida and South Georgia.

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

Hurricane Michael underwent three periods of rapid intensification, said Haiyan Jiang, associate professor of meteorology at Florida International University.

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