In Florida, a slow wait for news on hurricane’s death toll

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In Florida, a grim task is unwinding slowly: How many people were killed during Hurricane Michael?

The storm that ravaged the Florida Panhandle left incredible destruction, but so far getting a firm grasp on how many died is proving elusive.

Search and rescue teams have crawled and walked through thousands of buildings and ruins for days in places like Mexico Beach, which was virtually wiped out when the storm roared ashore last week. Yet the state has officially just acknowledged one death so far — and that death was in northeast Florida, far from the ground-zero fury of the Category 4 storm. The Associated Press has put the death toll in Florida and beyond at 17 so far.

State officials say they will announce storm-related fatalities once they are officially certified by local medical examiners.