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The death toll from Hurricane Michael’s devastating march up the east coast rose to 11 on Friday, as the strengthening storm lashed Virginia and left at least five people dead there.
The storm was making its way toward the Atlantic Ocean Friday as a post-tropical cyclone with winds gusting at 65 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
While the storm, which the NHC said was again gaining strength, could soon move off-shore, it still posed a risk since damaging winds extended 275 miles from its center. North Carolina, where one man was killed, could see additional storm surge. Meanwhile, parts of the Northeast could see up to 5 inches of rain, the NHC said.
Virginia was the latest state to feel the storm’s wrath, and will continue to bear the brunt of heavy winds on Friday. Five people in that state were killed in the storm, according to Virginia’s Department of Emergency Management.
One of the people killed was a firefighter, identified as Lt. Brad Clark, who was responding to a traffic accident on slick roads when a tractor trailer slammed into his engine, according to the Hanover County Fire-EMS Department. Two more emergency responders were seriously injured in the crash, as was the driver of the tractor trailer, who had to be extracted from the truck.
More than half a million customers in Virginia were without power.
Another million customers were without power across Maryland, Georgia, Alabama, the Carolinas and Florida, where the storm first made landfall and flattened coastal Panhandle communities.
At least four people were killed in the county of Gadsden, Florida, and officials were still surveying the ravaged oceanfront neighborhoods of Panama City Beach and Mexico Beach.
“This hurricane was an absolute monster,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday. “And the damage left in its wake is still yet to be fully understood.”
When the storm approached Georgia, it killed an 11-year-old girl in Seminole when winds picked up a carport that crashed through the roof of the home she was in and struck her in the head.
And in North Carolina, a man was killed when a tree fell onto his car in Iredell County, Gov. Roy Cooper said.
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