6 Dead as Hurricane Michael Batters Southeastern US

At least six deaths have been linked to Hurricane Michael, which continues to move through the southeast as a tropical storm.

As of 8 p.m. ET Thursday, the storm is still over central North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center. Life-threatening flooding continues to be a danger in North Carolina and southern Virginia, going into Thursday night. Maximum sustained winds are at 50 mph.

Four of the six deaths happened in the Florida panhandle, where the storm made landfall Wednesday. According to the Tallahasee Democrat, all four storm-related deaths were in Gadsen County. One of the dead is Steve Sweet, 44, who was killed after a tree fell on his house.

One victim was in Georgia. Sarah Radney, 11, died in her grandparents' home in southwest Georgia, reports the Associated Press. Authorities said the storm's powerful winds picked up a portable carport and slammed it on the house. One of the legs crashed through the roof, hitting Sarah in her head.

In North Carolina, a 38-year-old man was killed Thursday while driving in Irdell County, north of Charlotte. A tree fell on his vehicle, Irdell County Fire Marshall David Souther said, reports the Washington Post.

Michael made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday, leaving communities on the Florida panhandle devastated. Flash flooding is still a major concern in North Carolina and Virginia as the storm only continues to accelerate, notes Weather.com. The storm will continue moving through the northeast through Thursday night and will finally go out to sea by Friday.

Officials in Florida are now taking stock of the damage the storm left behind. Many are just happy they survived, even if their homes were destroyed.

“As horrible as it is and as much as it sucks, you just hope it all works out because it could have been way worse,” Taylor Russell told the Tallahassee Democrat. “Seeing the people in Panama City, it’s definitely going to be very hard for them. This, we have places to stay and friends. We’re lucky. We have places to go here. Some people don’t have anywhere to go.”

Panama City was one of the hardest-hit cities along the panhandle. One resident, Gregg Ebersole, told NBC News everything was "tossed around like it's a toy" and said he should have evacuated.

0comments

"If I knew it was going to be a Cat 4 with a direct hit, I never would have stayed. Two days ago, we were out boating in the sunshine. This snuck up on us so quick," Ebersole said.

"Absolutely devastating amount of damage Hurricane Michael has inflicted on Panama City. The damage seen today is catastrophic and looks like a complete war zone. My prayers go out to everyone affected by this storm," one Facebook user wrote, alongside a video of the devastation. "Panama City will never be the same."