Death toll rises to 6 in wake of Hurricane Michael's rampage

Michael looks likely to provide extra moisture to an incoming fall system late this week

Michael looks likely to provide extra moisture to an incoming fall system late this week

Florida Governor Rick Scott has expanded a state of emergency to 35 counties, while health officials are checking on facilities that care for the elderly, which have been told to install generators and file evacuation plans in preparation for Michael.

As Michael pushed northeast, emergency services carried out dozens of rescues of people caught in swiftly moving floodwaters in North Carolina on Thursday. A few blocks inland, about half the homes were reduced to piles of wood and siding and those still standing had suffered heavy damage. Landlines and cellphones also were down to the complex, which has almost 1,000 residents and more than 300 staff.

US president Donald Trump approved a federal pre-landfall emergency declaration authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to "coordinate all disaster relief efforts" and to "identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency".

"I know you just want to go home".

As Hurricane Michael barrels toward the US states along the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, and Tropical Storm Leslie lingers in the Central Atlantic, Tropical Storm Nadine has formed off the west coast of Africa in the far eastern Atlantic.

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Fast-moving Michael, a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale when it came ashore, was about 20 miles (35 km) northwest of Raleigh, North Carolina, at 5 pm EDT (1900 GMT) and set to speed up as it headed for the Atlantic coast, the NHC said. "We urge you to immediately approve this request to ensure that all federal resources are made available", the letter declares.

"I know people are worn out from Florence, but don't let this storm catch you with your guard down", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said, adding, "A number of homes have rooftop tarps that could be damaged or blown away with this wind". After it ravaged the Panhandle, Michael entered south Georgia as a Category 3 hurricane - the most powerful in recorded history for that part of the neighbouring state. Twisted street signs lay on the ground. Among those brought to safety were nine people rescued by helicopter from a bathroom of their Panama City home after their roof collapsed, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald Hodges said. Roofs were peeled off and homes split open by fallen trees. We thought the windows were going to break at any time.

A man outside Tallahassee, Florida, was killed by a falling tree was the first of "4 storm-related fatalities" announced by the Gadsden County Sheriff's office. Pine trees were stripped and snapped off about 20 feet high.

Cuban authorities said they evacuated about 400 people from low-lying areas. The hurricane damaged hospitals and nursing homes in Panama City, and officials worked to evacuate hundreds of patients. One of the carport's legs punctured the roof and hit her in the head.

High winds, downed trees, streets inundated by rising waters and multiple rescues of motorists from waterlogged cars played out in spots around Virginia and neighbouring North Carolina. 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. Michael's winds also toppled trees and power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands without power and flash flooding also was reported in North Carolina's two largest cities, Charlotte and Raleigh. It was racing to the northeast at 24 miles per hour (39 kph) amid warnings it could spread damaging winds and more flash flooding in the region before moving offshore.

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