Hurricane Michael's death toll rose to 16 0n Friday and authorities said they expect the number to rise. Nearly 1 million utility customers from Florida to Virginia were without power as of Friday afternoon.
"We're still in life-safety mode," FEMA Administrator Brock Long told CBS News. "We're not even close to having discussions on rebuilding yet."
Mexico Beach, Florida, was one of the hardest-hit areas. Entire blocks of homes were obliterated in the small Panhandle community. Search-and-rescue crews were going door to door looking for survivors. Thousands of National Guard troops and emergency workers are helping those who made it.
Blocks and blocks of homes were demolished, reduced to splintered lumber or mere concrete slabs by the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in nearly 50 years. State officials said that by one count, 285 people in Mexico Beach defied mandatory evacuation orders and stayed behind. Whether any of them got out at some point was unclear.
Emergency officials said they received thousands of calls asking about missing people. But with cellphone service out across vast swaths of the Florida Panhandle, officials said it is possible that some of those unaccounted for are safe and just haven't been able to contact friends or family.
Follow Hurricane Michael updates below:
Death toll rises to 16
There were at least 16 deaths related to Hurricane Michael as of Friday evening. The latest were three deaths that occurred in Jackson County, Florida, Sheriff Lou Roberts said.
Mexico Beach mayor "shocked" by destruction
"I am totally shocked what this has done to our entire town,"Miami Beach Mayor Al Cathey told CBS News on Friday. Cathey has lived in Mexico Beach for 65 years. Now, he barely recognizes his hometown.
Crews are slowly starting to pick up the pieces. During a tour with the mayor, he had to borrow a satellite phone from CBS News to make a call to a local hardware store to get supplies.
The city's water supply is safe. But with heavy damage to the main power lines, he said residents will not have basic needs for a long time. He estimates it could be two months before power is restored.
It's not only clean-up, but clean-out is also a top priority in Mexico Beach. Crews are moving debris that is blocking one of the main roads in and out of the city, and they're cleaning it out for first responders and emergency crews.
Toxic algae bloom returns to Tampa-area beaches
After moving offshore in recent weeks, a toxic algae bloom has returned to the beaches of the Tampa area, blown in from Hurricane Michael. Measurements posted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on its red tide website showed high concentrations off some Pinellas County, Florida, beaches on Thursday.
Residents were hoping the hurricane would have the opposite effect and blow it farther offshore. Red tide in the Gulf of Mexico off southwest Florida began last October after Hurricane Irma ravaged the state.
It has killed massive amounts of marine life and caused respiratory irritations in people. The bloom has spread to Florida's Panhandle and the Miami area.
Nearly 200 rescued in Florida
Florida emergency officials say they have rescued nearly 200 people and checked 25,000 structures since Hurricane Michael battered the state this week. Authorities said they had wrapped up their initial rapid searches and had begun more-intense searches including inspecting collapsed buildings.
The officials say they've completed 40 percent of these "secondary" searches and hope to finish up during daylight hours on Saturday.
Daughter finds out mom is OK by seeing her on "CBS Evening News"
After Hurricane Michael hit Florida, many people were left stranded and unable to reach their loved ones. But one family got the news they needed thanks to the power of television.
"CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor met Muriel Stacey in Panama City. She said she lived her whole life in Michigan but headed south after a heart attack and decades of harsh winters.
She showed Glor the extensive damage to her home after the hurricane. She also said she was unable to contact relatives back in Michigan to let them know she was OK. Stacey's daughter, Casey, said she was watching the "CBS Evening News" Thursday and saw her mom on TV.
"I just turned the TV on and I just happened to walk out into the living room at the exact time that I saw them walking up to the house and I recognized it instantly," she said. "Once I saw her, I started crying. I could barely hold it together but it was so difficult to stop crying long enough to hear my mother talk and to know that she was OK."
Aerial view shows devastation in Panama City
Hurricane Michael toppled trees and downed power lines in Florida, making made some roads impassable. The only way to reach some people stranded by the storm was from the air. CBS News' Jericka Duncan took a ride with a Coast Guard team from Detroit and saw a staggering amount of devastation.
So far, crews have rescued 34 and assisted more than 200 others. East Point business owner Michael Millender, who rode out the storm at home, said he's lucky to be alive.
"We're blessed over here. The rest of them, you know, there's a lot of them lost lives, I've heard. But a lot of people's concerned, and everybody's worried," Millender said.
After Michael cut a destructive path through Panama City, hundreds of utility crews responded, ready to restore power.
Walt Disney Co. pledges $1 million for relief efforts
The Walt Disney Co. is donating $1 million for relief efforts to areas devastated by Michael, the company said in a news release Friday.
Disney said the money will be funneled through the Florida Disaster Fund and that contributions from employees to eligible relief groups will be matched dollar-for-dollar through a matching gifts program.
"The families and communities impacted by this devastating hurricane need our help as they begin to rebuild," Disney Chairman and CEO Robert Iger said in a statement.
Disney has a 70,000-person workforce in Florida at its Walt Disney World theme park resort in the Orlando area.
Updated power outage numbers
There were 970,456 power outages across six states as of 5:30 p.m. Friday. Here's an approximate breakdown of the outages in each state:
- 271,998 customers without power in Florida
- 22,463 customers without power in Alabama
- 32,338 customers without power in Georgia
- 7,364 customers without power in South Carolina
- 323,735 customers without power in North Carolina
- 312,558 customers without power in Virginia
Oil, gas workers return to Gulf after Michael
Oil and gas workers are returning to drilling rigs and production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, but production remains down by about one-third as operations are restarted.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said in a report Friday that 32.4 percent of oil production and a little more than 13 percent of natural gas production in the Gulf remained shut down. The agency bases its estimates on daily reports from operators.
The bureau says workers remained evacuated from only nine of the 687 staffed platforms in the Gulf, and that all unmoored rigs that were moved as the storm approached have returned to their drilling spots.
Florida governor's mansion opened to troopers
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has opened up the governor's mansion in Tallahassee to state troopers on their way to areas hit hard by Hurricane Michael. Scott and first lady Ann Scott had dinner on Thursday with 50 troopers and 35 of them slept on cots inside the mansion prior to their deployment.
The governor's office said it would continue to use the mansion as a shelter for law enforcement as long as necessary. There are 600 state troopers assisting with the response and recovery in Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend area.
Trump says he'll visit Florida, Georgia
President Trump said he'll visit Florida and Georgia "early next week." The president didn't provide more specific information about his visit.
"People have no idea how hard Hurricane Michael has hit the great state of Georgia," Mr. Trump said in a Friday afternoon tweet. "I will be visiting both Florida and Georgia early next week."
The president was planning to attend "Make America Great Again" rallies in Ohio on Friday night and in Kentucky on Saturday night.
Mexico Beach survivor: "I could cry to think about it"
A Florida resident who rode out Hurricane Michael in one of the hardest-hit communities in the Panhandle said the thought of what she experienced could make her cry. Many residents of Mexico Beach stayed despite mandatory evacuation orders, CBS News correspondent Hilary Lane reports.
"When the water started coming up, I was more scared there than any time I've ever been scared in my life," said Debby McCoy. "I could cry to think about it because I didn't know it was going to stop, you know, and I'm thinking what'll happen if it gets over our head?"
Just up the coast in Panama City Beach, Michael leveled a family-owned shopping center. A long-time employee returned to see the damage.
"You gotta bite your tongue and your lip and everything and just carry on," Travis Maddox said.
Florida shelves plans for mobile morgue
Florida emergency officials said Friday that they have canceled, for now, plans to set up a temporary mortuary unit in the Panhandle. But they're still searching areas near the coast as well as counties near the Georgia border that were hit hard by Hurricane Michael's catastrophic winds.
Authorities have gotten thousands of calls asking about missing persons in the region, but so far no reports of widespread deaths. Gov. Rick Scott said state officials still "do not know enough" about the fate of people who remained in the region to ride out the storm.
"We are not completely done, we are still getting down there," the governor added. State officials said the high volume of phone calls from outside the disaster area could be due to the fact that vast swaths of the Panhandle remain without cellphone service.
2 killed when car hits fallen tree in North Carolina
Two people in North Carolina died when their car smashed into a tree felled by Hurricane Michael, authorities said Friday. The accident raised the total death toll from the storm to 13.
McDowell County Emergency Management Director William Kehle said the accident happened about 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Marion, located in a mountainous area. State emergency management spokesman Keith Acree said a 64-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene.
A man died after being airlifted to a hospital. His age was not immediately released.
Authorities said the death toll in the state now stands at three. "We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the loved ones and friends of those killed," Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement.
"We urge everyone to remain safe," he said. "While the storm has moved on, there is still much clean up and repair to be done."
North Carolina gov.: Strong riptides at the beach
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged people not to swim along the state's coastline this weekend because of strong riptides and heavy surf caused by Michael, which has moved into the Atlantic. "It'll be a beautiful weekend at the beach, but it's not a time to go in swimming," Cooper said during a press conference Friday morning.
Hundreds of roads were closed across the state, many of them blocked by trees, Cooper said. Some roads were washed out.
Cooper urged motorists not to drive around barricades. "Those roads are closed for a reason," he said.
Virginia firefighter killed by truck in storm
A Virginia firefighter died while responding to a crash north of Richmond as Michael lashed the state. The Hanover County Fire-EMS Department said Fire Lt. Brad Clark died when a tractor-trailer struck his fire engine at the scene of a two-vehicle crash around 9 p.m. Thursday.
The department said that the fire engine had its lights and other emergency equipment activated but roads were slick and storm conditions were heavy. The state medical examiner's office has ruled that Clark's death was among five storm-related fatalities in the state.
Authorities said two others in Clark's crew were seriously injured. The truck driver had to be extricated and also suffered serious injuries.
The Virginia State Police told CBS affiliate WTVR-TV that the driver, 49-year-old Lester Labarge of California, Maryland, was charged with reckless driving and cited for defective brakes.
FEMA chief: "Not safe to return" to hardest-hit areas
FEMA Administrator Brock Long warned people Friday not to go back to the areas that Hurricane Michael hit the hardest. "It's still not safe to return, particularly to Bay County, Florida," Long said.
Mexico Beach, which officials have called "ground zero" for hurricane damage, and Panama City are in Bay County. Tyndall Air Force Base, which the Air Force has said was severely damaged in the storm, is also in the county.
"There's no infrastructure there to support you, and quite honestly it's a dangerous area to go back into," Long said during a press conference Friday morning. "When you have this type of destruction, there's gas lines that are there, there's power lines that are down. In doing so, you're putting your life in danger, and we ask you to be patient."
Destruction in Panhandle stretches for miles
Entire cities along Florida's Panhandle are unrecognizable, CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca reports from Mexico Beach. Homes and businesses were ripped from their foundations, trailers were split open and tossed aside like toys, and a coastline was carved up by relentless, surging waves.
"I never in my life would I ever dream that I would go through something like this," Jackie Grable of Port St. Joe told Villafranca. Just up the coast, officials called Mexico Beach "ground zero" for hurricane damage.
The destruction is catastrophic, and it stretches for miles in every direction. Help is arriving.
Rescue teams with dogs searched what was left of Mexico Beach on Thursday, combing through piles of debris stacked 20 feet high. "This area is not going to be back to normal for a long time," said Danny Simon of Louisiana Task Force 1, an emergency response team that just finished a 17-day deployment in North Carolina and South Carolina after Hurricane Florence.
Nearly 300 people in the area stayed behind to ride out Wednesday's storm. Many were still unaccounted for on Friday morning.
Michael out to sea but some effects still being felt
One-time Category 4 Hurricane Michael was a post-tropical cyclone moving across the Atlantic early Friday, the National Hurricane Center said. But people in the Florida Panhandle were only beginning to deal with the destruction in its wake.
As of 5 a.m. Friday, Michael's core was 85 miles east-northeast of Norfolk, Virginia and 275 miles southwest of Nantucket, Massachusetts, speeding east-northeast at 29 mph, the NHC said. It was still packing 65 mph maximum sustained winds.
The hurricane center forecast that, "The center of Michael will move away from the United States today and move rapidly across the open Atlantic Ocean tonight through Sunday.
" ... Some additional strengthening is expected today andtonight as the post-tropical cyclone moves across the Atlantic."
Michael death toll keeps climbing
Five more deaths are being blamed on what was Hurricane Michael, bringing the new death toll to at least 11.
Virginia State Police say they were called in Thursday afternoon to help find James E. King Jr., 45, who was swept away from his vehicle by floodwaters.
Shortly after 10:30 p.m., special agents with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and local volunteer firefighters found King's body downstream.
Four other deaths are being attributed to Michael in Virginia.
In addition, authorities say 4 people died from storm-related incidents in Florida and one each in North Carolina and Georgia.
The person who died in Georgia was an 11-year-old girl.
Some Floridians return to find homes destroyed
Deirdre Hawthorne and her family rode out the storm with more than 200 other people in a shelter, CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste reports. On her way home, she said she was filled with "dread." She has called Bristol, Florida, home for the last 18 years.
CBS News was with her when she saw her house for the first time. Somehow it was still standing beneath a twisted knot of fallen trees. Her daughter Amanda had to find another way into the house.
Amanda said she was "devastated, scared, happy."
A tree happened to fall the other way, narrowly missing their home. But not everyone was so lucky.
Watch Battiste's report from "CBS Evening News" below:
Florida psychiatric hospital "cut off" by Michael
State officials say Hurricane Michael left Florida's largest psychiatric hospital "entirely cut off."
A spokesman with the Florida Department of Children and Families says Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee has been running on emergency generators. A helicopter dropped water and food at the facility on Thursday after a tree downed during the storm caused a water line to break.
Landlines and cellphones are also down at the hospital, which has nearly 1,000 residents and more than 300 staff. Staff are using emergency radios to stay in contact with first responders.
Many roads in and around the facility are blocked, but 50 staff from two other state mental health facilities are being brought in to assist.
Patients at the facility have been committed involuntarily either through civil or criminal cases.
"CBS Evening News" on the scene covering Michael's wrath
"CBS Evening News" will cover the deadly path of destruction as entire communities are devastated in wake of Hurricane Michael.
CBS News' Jeff Glor recently posted an image above Mexico Beach, Florida, showing Michael's fury.
Michael by the numbers
Hurricane history: First Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Florida's Panhandle since record-keeping began in 1851.
Top winds: 155 mph at landfall, strong enough to completely destroy homes and cause weekslong power outages.
Powerful pressure: 919 millibars minimum pressure in the eye.
High water: Estimated peak storm surge of 9 feet and 14 feet from Mexico Beach east through Apalachee Bay, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Storm riders: Roughly 375,000 people in Florida were warned to evacuate; many refused, including 285 people in Mexico Beach where Michael made landfall.
Rescued: 47 helped out of hard-hit areas along Florida's coastline, and 20 people in flooded neighborhoods in North Carolina.
Staying safe: Nearly 6,700 people took refuge in 54 shelters in Florida.
Power outages: Roughly 1 million customers in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina were without power at one point.
Food and water: 2 million ready-to-eat meals, 1 million gallons of water and 40,000 10-pound bags of ice ready for distribution in Florida.
The human cost: At least six people have been confirmed dead. Falling trees killed a man in Gadsden County, Florida, and a man in Iredell County, North Carolina. An 11-year-old girl in Seminole County, Georgia, was killed when a carport blew through the roof of her home.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott asks for debate delay in Senate race
Florida Gov. Rick Scott asked to delay a debate with Sen. Bill Nelson for two weeks so he can focus on response-and-recovery efforts following Hurricane Michael. Scott, a Republican, issued a statement Thursday asking CNN to postpone the debate with the Democratic incumbent, which was originally scheduled for this coming Tuesday.
Scott cited "catastrophic destruction caused by Hurricane Michael" and said he's certain Nelson agrees the response should be a priority. He said, "We appreciate CNN understanding the dire situation in North Florida," and added that Scott "will have no time for campaigning in the next few weeks as he focuses exclusively on recovery efforts for the foreseeable future."
Dramatic drone video shows decimated school
Dramatic drone video shows extensive damage to a school in Florida's Panama City, giving a sense of Hurricane Michael's ferocity. The video shows collapsed roofing and walls, scattered debris and mangled building materials.
FEMA Administrator Brock Long said it could take months, or even years, for some of the hardest-hit areas to recover from the storm.
Water rescues carried out in North Carolina
Bands of rain from Hurricane Michael lashed the western part of North Carolina, causing some water rescues and a landslide that closed a road. Gov. Roy Cooper urged all residents to be on alert as the storm blows through the state.
Cooper said officials were monitoring several rivers for potential flooding in the central, eastern and western parts of the state, though not the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Florence last month. In western North Carolina's Henderson County, emergency services director Jimmy Brissie said first responders have been busy since the early morning helping people in cars trapped in high water and residents who need help leaving low-lying areas.
Brissie said about 20 people were pulled out of neighborhoods inundated by flash flooding. He said he's not aware of any injuries.
McDowell County emergency services director Adrienne Jones said a landslide closed a road and a swift-water rescue crew pulled a man to safety in Buncombe County. In Asheville, two people in a hammock who found themselves surrounded by floodwaters were pulled onto an inflatable boat.
Judge rejects Florida voter registration extension
A federal judge rejected a push to extend Florida's voter registration deadline because of Hurricane Michael, saying there's "no justification" to do so. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled late Wednesday against the Florida Democratic Party, which called the Republican-led response to the storm's disruption confusing and inadequate.
Florida's deadline to register to vote was Tuesday, 29 days ahead of the Nov. 6 election. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner told local election supervisors that if their offices were closed Tuesday due to the hurricane, then they could accept paper applications for a single day once their offices reopen.
Coroner IDs girl killed by flying carport
A coroner has identified the 11-year-old girl who was killed as Hurricane Michael blew through south Georgia. Seminole County coroner Chad Smith on Thursday identified the girl as Sarah Radney.
Smith said an official cause of death had not been determined but that it would likely be massive blunt force trauma. Seminole County Emergency Management Agency director Travis Brooks said strong winds picked up a portable carport Wednesday and dropped it on the roof of the home sheltering the girl.
One of the carport's legs punctured the roof and hit the girl in the head.
Trump defends attending rally as Michael hit Florida
President Trump defended attending a campaign rally on Wednesday night in Pennsylvania as Hurricane Michael raked across Florida. "I couldn't tell people that had been standing in line for a day and a half wanting to get into the arena that I'm not going," the president told reporters in the Oval Office on Thursday morning.
"We had great control over what we were doing, both on Air Force One, at the White House and in Florida," Mr. Trump said. The president is planning to attend similar rallies in Ohio on Friday night and in Kentucky on Saturday night.
Mr. Trump is expected to visit areas affected by Michael early next week.
Helicopter crew rescues 9 from bathroom in Florida
The U.S. Coast Guard in Mobile, Alabama, said its crews have rescued 27 people, mostly from damaged homes. Petty Officer Third Class Ronald Hodges told The Associated Press that a Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew pulled nine people from a bathroom of their Panama City home after their roof collapsed Wednesday afternoon.
Crews were out early Thursday searching for more victims. Hodges said the number of rescues remains fluid and there were no reports of deaths so far from the Coast Guard's missions.
Florida emergency officials said they're starting to transfer patients out of damaged health care facilities. They're also trying to figure out the extent of damage to roads and bridges.
A huge swath of Interstate 10, the main east-west route near the coast, was blocked off due to damage.
Georgia girl killed by leg of carport, not tree
Authorities are correcting early reports about the death of an 11-year-old girl as Hurricane Michael blew over southwest Georgia. Seminole County Emergency Management Agency director Travis Brooks said it wasn't a tree but a carport that hit her home and killed her.
He said strong winds picked up a portable carport Wednesday and dropped it down on the roof. One of the carport's legs punctured the roof and hit the girl in the head.
Brooks said he wasn't able to get out much overnight to fully assess the damage in the county because downed power lines and trees made roads impassable in the darkness. But he said the sheriff told him it looked like a bomb had gone off.
Michael appeared to do its worst in Panama City
In Panama City, Florida, Hurricane Michael appeared to do its worst, "CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor reports. Some houses and businesses were unrecognizable.
The roof of a school gymnasium was torn open. An entire freight train was pushed clear off the rails.
Sabrina Marshall was inside her home as parts were torn away from her. "And the door just -- psssh -- and the roof flew off," she said.
Downed trees and tangled power lines have made many streets impassable. "I was in a bunker, almost a bunker," Karen Hasket said, "and just prayers."
At Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, the devastation was extensive. An entire roof was stripped from an aircraft hanger.
Overturned trucks and debris littered the tarmac. The base commander had ordered an evacuation on Monday.