Hurricane Michael clean-up begins as authorities brace for death toll to rise

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No wind, nearly no-one on the street, just the beating hot Sun and the debris: debris everywhere, tossed and scattered - the calling card of a monstrous storm. States across the Southeast felt the effects of Michael, which transitioned to a post-tropical cyclone on Friday.

On Friday, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management reported five hurricane-related fatalities.

Mexico Beach is a community of about 1,200 people and city leaders say about a quarter of them chose to ride out the storm in the area.

"When the water came in houses started floating", said the man identified as Scott.

"I'm gonna be sleeping in my van, with my dogs".

If someone must travel, the Virginia State Police recommends drivers should give themselves plenty of extra travel time, be prepared for possible detours, slow down on rural roads, don't drive distracted, and always wear a seat belt. "There's nothing left here anymore".

"This is much, much worse", he said.

In southwestern Virginia, Emily Waddell said the water level in a creek near her property in Simpsons already surpassed what it experienced during Florence. When she spoke to CNN on Thursday, she had lost a chicken coop and four of her six gardens. "The EOC [emergency operations center] came, and the sheriff's office, and then the governor was here and talked about it again, and then the day before, we sent deputies in the low-lying areas door to door to tell people".

With reduced winds of 50mph, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Michael has moved north-east crossing Georgia and is closing in on Greensboro, North Carolina.

Gov. Rick Scott said state officials still "do not know enough" about the fate of those who stayed behind in the region.

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The Environmental Protection Agency says there were no reports of oil spills or other hazardous materials, as occurred during Hurricane Harvey past year in Houston and Hurricane Florence last month in the Carolinas.

Apalachicola, with 2,300 residents, was also badly affected, the mayor reporting that downed cables were making it hard to get through the town. As far as she could see, only one home was still intact.

On Friday, Cooper said the storm "left behind a long track of damage".

The storm dumped 4 to 8 inches of rain across a swath of Virginia, possibly more in some areas, said Jeffrey Stern, the state's emergency management coordinator.

Wayne Murphy, a Hendersonville resident, told WLOS he needed waders to go from his porch to his driveway.

As of 11:00, Michael was centred about 60km south of Charlotte, North Carolina, with winds of 85km/h.

"Our biggest thing is the downed lines and the downed trees and now this water main issue", said Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson, referring to a burst water main complicating efforts to restore power.

Row after row of beachfront homes were obliterated by the epic Category 4 hurricane.

Jordon Tood, 31, a charter boat captain in Port St. Joe, said: "There were mandatory evacuation orders, but only idiots like us stuck around".

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 U.S.in almost 50 years. An 11-year-old girl in Georgia died when Michael's winds picked up a carport and dropped it through the roof of her grandparents' home. Roy and Amber Rodney said their daughter loved to perform. "She's my baby", a distraught O'Brien said, her face wet with tears.

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