One more body has been found in the rubble of an obliterated Florida community, raising the death toll to at least 16 since Category 4 Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle a week ago, later churning north through Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia as a tropical storm.
Further details were not immediately available.
According to reports, Hurricane Michael has left behind a trail of massive destruction even as the death toll has gone up to 17 from what is being described as 'one of the most powerful storms to make landfall in the United States mainland'.
More than 900,000 homes and businesses in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas are without power in the wake of Hurricane Michael.
A search-and-rescue team walks past a debris pile from Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach (David Goldman/AP) A damaged road after Hurricane Michael blew through Carrabelle, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media.
Haley Nelson inspects damages to her family properties in the Panama City, Fla., spring field area after Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida's Panhandle on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.
Meanwhile, Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long said he expects the death toll will rise.
FEMA crews have been using bulldozers and other heavy equipment to push a path through debris so rescuers can sift the rubble using specially trained search dogs.
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Officials said they similarly received inquiries about thousands of people who were missing in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma past year as crews fanned out across the Keys to reduce that number. "We're starting from scratch, all of us", Plushnik said.
The US Army said more than 2,000 Florida National Guard soldiers were working on the recovery operations.
According to the National Hurricane Center, it could strengthen into a major Category 3 hurricane with winds topping 111 miles per hour before it reaches Florida's Gulf Coast on Wednesday.
Dozens of structures in Mexico Beach - homes, shops and restaurants - were lifted off their foundations by storm surge and 155-mile per hour (250 kph) winds and moved hundreds of feet inland or smashed to bits.
But judging from the number of homes reduced to "sticks", he said "my sense is they are going to find more victims".
Thousands of people have been informally reported missing to local authorities, the Red Cross and the state, as people look for their friends and relatives.
"We were going to establish a mortuary location". Panama City, a popular spring break retreat, and Mexico Beach, another upscale coastline spot, were almost unrecognizable in Michael's wake.
"I lost everything", Morales said. "People will just pack up and leave".