Georgia girl dies when Hurricane Michael sends carport leg through roof

Joe Raedle  Getty Images Waves crash along a pier from hurricane Michael Oct. 10 2018 in Panama City Beach Fla

A day after making landfall near Mexico Beach in Florida as a Category 4 monster packing 155 miles per hour winds, Tropical Storm Michael continued to weaken but was still threatening the Southeast with heavy rains, heavy winds and possible spinoff tornadoes.

Many homes were ripped apart or washed away altogether in Mexico Beach, the town of 1,000 where the hurricane came ashore.

As the storm picked up, Roy said he began to get nervous, checking in on his parents and children every hour and sometimes every 15 minutes.

Diane Farris, 57, and her son walked to a high school-turned-shelter near their Panama City home, where about 1,100 people crammed into a space meant for about half as many. Those numbers are added to the 350,000 accounts without power in Florida, and more than 160,000 in Georgia.

At least 3: The number of confirmed deaths as of Thursday.

Sally Crown rode out Michael on the Panhandle thinking at first the worst damage was the many trees downed in her yard.

At least 11 people died this week as a result of Michael: an 11-year-old girl in Georgia, four people in Florida, a driver in North Carolina and five people in Virginia, officials said.

"This is what we expect with storm surge and high wind events", said Craig Fugate, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a former emergency management chief for the state of Florida. No injuries were reported, but there's roof damage to "nearly every home" on the base. As of Thursday morning, the storm was centered about 40 miles west-northwest of Columbia, South Carolina, and is headed northeast.

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The National Hurricane Center downgraded Michael to a tropical storm early Thursday, saying its maximum winds had dropped below the threshold for a hurricane. When it landed, its legs crashed through the roof of a neighboring mobile home and hit the girl in the head.

Some fear the toll can only rise as rescue teams get around storm debris blocking roads and reach isolated areas.

A Panhandle man was killed by a tree that toppled on a home, Gadsden County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Anglie Hightower said. "If the house and the cars are destroyed they can be replaced, but my niece needs her dad - and as much as I sometimes can't stand him, I would do anything to just know he's OK", McCall said.

National Guard troops made their way into the ground-zero town and found 20 survivors yesterday and more rescue crews were pushing into the area, with the fate of many residents unknown. County officials say they're not releasing names or other details yet while families are notified.

By late Wednesday, the storm had moved toward Georgia.

In Roberta, in Crawford County, Hill Bentley said he saw spinning clouds that looked like a tornado Wednesday.

Multiple buildings in Panama City were demolished or left without roofs while deserted streets were littered with debris, fallen tree trunks and dangling wires. Long urged residents in the Carolinas to heed warnings and take the tropical storm seriously.

A reporter and a photojournalist from the Tampa Bay Times ventured to Mexico Beach before dawn Thursday, finding the town of about 1,000 nearly impassable. When the house filled with storm surge water, they fled upstairs.

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