Hurricane Michael: Death toll continues to rise amid searches

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The home Russell King and his nephew Lebron Lackey had built to withstand 250-mph winds in Mexico Beach, Fla., Oct. 14, 2018, is seen still standing after Hurricane Michael passed through the area.

In Florida, a grim task is unwinding slowly: Finding out how many people were killed in Hurricane Michael. "While the FCC has been in regular contact with companies serving the affected areas, I'm concerned that their actions on the ground aren't matching the urgency that we have conveyed during those conversations".

A spokesman for Verizon, Ronan Dunne, said the company is "100% focused on repairing our network in the Florida Panhandle".

Pai joined Gov. Rick Scott (R) in calling on wireless carriers to waive bills for October for those still without coverage. Even more, the FCC wants carriers to allow people unhappy with the way their carrier reacted to the disaster to switch to another one without having to pay the obligatory early termination fees that are usually part of the contracts for mobile services.

"I didn't think it was going to really work to see anything with the images", Amber Gee told ABC.

"In addition, we deployed 15 large scale portable cell sites to the most storm damaged areas to provide connectivity".

"Before the storm hit we announced and implemented credits for our customers".

"Our crews continue working day and night to ensure continuing connectivity for the affected areas", the company said in a statement.

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The FCC will open an investigation into the post-hurricane restoration efforts, Pai said. Seven school districts were "closed until further notice", Scott's office said Tuesday. "We are now supporting communications with portable cell sites (COLTs) in numerous locations throughout Florida and Georgia, and working to deploy additional recovery equipment as needed".

In an email, Verizon said it will offer three months of free service to "every Verizon customer in Bay and Gulf counties". "This free service is for both consumer and business accounts", he added in an email.

Panama City resident Wes Allen said looters have been a constant problem at the badly damaged motel where he is staying with his wife and three children.

The president said someone described Hurricane Michael to him as being "like a very wide, extremely wide, tornado". "Crews continue their fiber fix work throughout the day today". The storm also intensified unexpectedly after making landfall, worsening over North Carolina and creating power outages affecting half a million in Virginia. "We went above and beyond code, and we asked the question: 'What would survive the big one?' And we consistently tried to build it for that".

State officials said fuel shortages are not widespread, but in some communities residents were running out of fuel, scrambling to find where it was available and waiting in line for hours once they did find it.

"Sprint customers impacted by Hurricane Michael with usage between October 10, 2018 and October 14, 2018 will have call, text and data overage fees waived for the full billing period".

As for T-Mobile, the operator said its services had been nearly completely restored, and that it is offering "free calling/texting/data for active postpaid and prepaid customers who are not already on an unlimited plan".

However, Sprint's website contains no network status updates.