Search teams continued to pick their way through the ruins of Mexico Beach, the ground-zero town of about 1,000 people that was almost wiped off the map when Michael blew ashore there on Wednesday with devastating 155 miles per hour winds.
"There are individuals who are deceased".
"Basically everything has shut down", he said, adding that there are "too many people on the same service".
The tropical storm, which grew in less than two days into a Category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, tore apart entire neighbourhoods in the Panhandle, reducing homes to naked concrete foundations or piles of wood.
Michael also disrupted energy operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico as it approached land, cutting crude oil production by more than 40 percent and natural gas output by almost a third as offshore platforms were evacuated.
Despite the rescues, the death toll was also expected to rise.
More roads were passable along the storm-ravaged coast as crews cleared downed trees and power lines, but traffic lights remained out and lines at the few gas stations that were open were five to six cars deep.
Rescue teams, hampered by power and telephone outages, were going door to door and using cadaver dogs, drones and heavy equipment to hunt for people in the rubble in Mexico Beach and other Florida coastal communities, such as Port St Joe and Panama City.
"My job is to keep our community safe and ensure Tallahassee recovers as quickly and fully as possible". Numerous 600 families who live there had followed orders to pack what they could in a single suitcase as they were evacuated ahead of the storm. The destruction in Bay County has largely been from wind damage, as opposed to the flooding during Katrina. "Literally overnight it went from a Category 1 or 2 to a Category 4, nearly borderline 5".
"We hope that we'll find more [survivors], but it's more and more doubtful". This is pretty extensive, the damage. "At this time I can't tell you how long that will take, but I'm on it", Laidlaw wrote.
Hurricane Andrew killed 44 people in South Florida when it made landfall near Homestead on August 24, 1992.
The deaths in Virginia include four people who drowned in separate incidents, said Mr. Northam.
Governor Rick Scott said state officials still "do not know enough" about the fate of those who stayed behind in the region. The tally of lives lost across the South stood at 14, including the victim found in the rubble of Mexico Beach, where about 1,000 people live. "This is obviously the worst", said Stephanie Palmer, a FEMA firefighter and rescuer from Coral Springs, Florida.
"There's nothing left here anymore", he said of the town.
Numerous injured in Florida were taken to hard-hit Panama City, 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Mexico Beach. Numerous most heavily-hit areas have not yet been reached, as flooding, downed power lines, trees and other debris blocking roadways are prohibiting crews' access.
"Really we're beginning to communicate to take supplies here on the beach level and bring them over to Panama City and Springfield and Callaway, where the churches there were really destroyed, major damage, and allow them to be collection points for the supplies that people are giving us and distribute to the people in need", Wayne Asprodites, the worship center's pastor, told CBN News.