Hurricane Michael — now downgraded to a tropical storm — has claimed six lives in three states since touching down on Wednesday in Florida as a Category 4 hurricane.
On Thursday, a 38-year-old, North Carolina man was killed just before 1 p.m. in Iredell County when a tree fell on the car he was driving, authorities said, according to the Washington Post. Officials in Gadsden, Florida, reported four storm-related deaths, including that of a man who was killed by a falling tree in his Greensboro home, according to the site.
The rising death tolls follow news of an 11-year-old girl in Seminole County, Florida, dying in her family’s mobile home Wednesday afternoon after a tree fell on the structure, the Tallahassee Democrat and The Washington Post reported.
The Tropical Storm continued through the Southeast on Thursday, causing floods and wind damage, according to the Post. As a hurricane, Michael was the strongest on record in the Florida Panhandle. It left homes and buildings in ruins, high flood waters and debris across the area.
More than 486,000 were without power in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas in the wake of the storm’s landfall, according to CNN. Areas of Virginia and North Carolina are experiencing flash floods. Debris in Florida have prompted authorities to close a large portion of Interstate 10.
“Mexico Beach was wiped out,” FEMA administrator William “Brock” Long said, according to CNN. A resident added of the beachfront city: “First the cars started floating by, and all the debris was in the air. When the water came in, houses started floating in front of our home.”
RELATED: Hurricane Michael Pummels Florida: See the Most Powerful Photos of the Savage Storm
By Thursday, the tropical storm had winds reduced to 50 mph over eastern Georgia, according to CBS News, as officials warned of “life-threatening” flash floods in Southeastern Virginia.
“Strong winds, heavy rain, and tornadoes are expected across portions of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina today,” the National Hurricane Center warned on Twitter.
Michael Graham, the National Hurricane Center’s director, labeled the Michael weather event a “history-making, very devastating storm and one that we’re never going to forget,” according to NBC News.
On Thursday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency, urging Virginia residents in a statement to “prepare for the serious possibility of flash floods, tropical storm force winds, tornadoes and power outage.”
Officials have warned that the death toll could rise amid search and rescue efforts as the storm continues on.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has come under fire for attending a campaign rally on Wednesday in Pennsylvania as the hurricane wreaked havoc on Florida, CBS News reported. He is expected to visit areas impacted by the storm next week.
“The big problem with this hurricane was the tremendous power, and fortunately it was very fast,” Trump said on Thursday as he and the white house declared a major disaster in Florida. “It went through Florida very, very quickly.”
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