Palm trees are seen during Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach, Florida, U.S. Oct. 10, 2018. (Xinhua/REUTERS)
WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- The total death toll caused by Hurricane Michael has jumped to 26 after police in the U.S. state of Florida said Tuesday that another 12 bodies have been discovered, with dozens still unaccounted for.
The bodies were discovered in Bay County. Sheriff Tommy Ford released the death toll for his county after completing "99 percent" of their first rapid search of the county.
Ford did not elaborate on the exact causes of death for the victims, but categorized their death as related to a Category 4 hurricane that hit the United States nearly one week ago.
Bay County was one of the hardest hit regions along the Florida panhandle, where hurricanes as strong as Michael rarely strike.
Due to its relatively low threat of hurricanes, buildings on the Florida panhandle were built under lower standards than those along the Atlantic coast, adding to the property loss. Aerial photos taken after the hurricane showed flatten houses stretched miles along the beach.
The other deaths occurred in the states that also saw torrential rain and strong winds, including Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.
Local authorities believe that the death toll will continue to rise as rescuers are combing through decimated buildings. Dozens are said to be still missing in Mexico Beach where Hurricane Michael made its landfall.
According to initial calculations, nearly 16,000 single family homes have been damaged, and more than 4,000 have been destroyed. Tyndall Air Force Base, which was also in the path of the hurricane, saw its hangers shredded and jets flipped. F-22s that were stationed there also sustained heavy damage.
Analysts have put the total loss inflicted by Hurricane Michael to be between 15 and 21 billion U.S. dollars.