Michael charges into Southeast after slamming north Florida, at least 1 dead

The winds were so strong they brought down a billboard in Florida's Panama City, tore down a Texaco gas pumping station canopy in Inlet Beach, and the storm surge completely knocked a house of its foundations in Mexico Beach.

Michael is moving across southwestern Georgia with damaging winds across the central and eastern Panhandle of Florida as well as southwestern and south-central Georgia, with storm flooding still occurring along the Gulf Coast, the NHC said.

"I think that if people are comparing storms, what was really fascinating was that it was still intensifying when it was making landfall, which is similar to Hurricane Camille also intensifying as it moved inland", says AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.

Strong winds and rain did hit in Columbia County, but some people living in Lake City told News4Jax they feel like they lucked out, considering the damage from Michael could have been worse.

Residents of the neighboring state of Georgia should also expect to be heavily impacted by the storm, the FEMA head said.

"We're going to do everything we can and send people out to keep people safe". Downgraded to a tropical storm early Thursday over south Georgia, it continued to weaken overnight but was still menacing the Southeast with heavy rains, blustery winds and possible spinoff tornadoes.

In Panama City Beach, the sound of the storm was unmistakable, more like a jetliner at takeoff.

She said: "I'm anxious about my daughter and grandbaby".

An estimated 375,000 people in more than 20 counties were ordered or advised to evacuate. Governor Rick Scott said there was a "lot of roof damage" in the storm's path. "We're seeing up to nine feet of inundation in parts of Apalachicola, Florida, and that wasn't even where Michael made landfall".

The National Weather Service office in the state capital Tallahassee issued a dramatic appeal for people to comply with evacuation orders.

Marino, who lives with his girlfriend and her grandmother, said water started dripping through the chimney, and they feared the wind would send the tree crashing through the roof.

Severe flooding, structural building damage, uprooted trees and downed power lines appeared widespread in coastal areas near where the storm made landfall.

Trump declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida, freeing up federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses. Some of those areas are still working to recover from Hurricane Florence. Neighborhood streets flooded as waves battered the shoreline. The planet has warmed significantly over the past several decades, causing changes in the environment. Once that happens, wind speeds increase.

After Michael left the Panhandle late Wednesday, Kaylee O'Brien was crying as she sorted through the remains of the apartment she shared with three roommates at Whispering Pines apartments, where the smell of broken pine trees was thick in the air.

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