Before-and-after photos show Hurricane Michael's catastrophic destruction in Florida

Before-and-after photos show Hurricane Michael's catastrophic destruction in Florida

Before-and-after photos show Hurricane Michael's catastrophic destruction in Florida

At least two deaths have been reported from Michael, which made landfall on Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 storm and has since been downgraded to a tropical storm as it moves into the Carolinas. But emergency authorities lamented that many ignored the warnings.

"Don't think that you can ride this out if you're in a low-lying area", Nelson said on CNN.

Some forecasters said that Michael was likely the strongest hurricane to hit the Florida Panhandle in recorded history, and meanwhile, it was one of the strongest storms to hit the United States in history. When their house filled with surging ocean water, they fled upstairs.

"But you know what.it's just stuff, it's just stuff", she told her husband as they walked through their home. We're working with our partners to provide evacuees a safe place to stay.

Her brother, she said, lost a condo along the beach, and the other nearby units were also destroyed.

Schools and businesses across the Southern Georgia region are heading the warnings and dire forecast by closing and making plans like many coastal residents. "You want to check on things and begin the recovery process", Scott said.

The U.S. Coast Guard in Mobile, Alabama, says its crews have rescued 27 people, mostly from damaged homes. Downed power lines and twisted street signs lay all around. Roofs were peeled away and sent airborne.

On Twitter, Sen. Marco Rubio described the scene in Mexico Beach as "total devastation" and said drone images produced "audible gasps" at one emergency operations center. Homes were split open by fallen trees.

Hundreds of residents were rescued on Thursday from cars, apartments and homes flooded by rushing water. Pine trees were stripped and snapped off about 20 feet high. He imposed a curfew and asked for 50 members of the National Guard for protection.

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The hurricane damaged hospitals and nursing homes in the Panama City area, and state officials brought in ambulances to evacuate patients.

Supplies were being flown in by helicopter to a state mental hospital, where the criminally insane are held, after it was cut off by flooding. All phone communicaiton was cut off to the complex of almost 1,000 residents and more than 300 staff, leaving emergency radios as their only link out. "We need to be ready for this", NHC Director Ken Graham said in an update Tuesday morning, urging people in the storm's path to finish preparations and evacuate if they're in an emergency area.

In Mexico Beach, a seafront town where the hurricane made landfall, houses had been razed by storm surge, boats had been tossed into yards and the streets were littered with trees and power lines.

However, a cold front carrying cooler and drier air is coming in from the Northwest, and is expected to arrive sometime this evening.

In North Carolina's mountains, motorists had to be rescued from cars trapped by high water. An 11-year-old girl was killed when part of a metal carport crashed into her family's trailer in Lake Seminole and struck her in the head, local officials said.

Richard Fausset, and Atlanta-based reporter for The New York Times, posted a photo of a group of people huddling in a storage closet at his hotel in Panama City.

It's unusual for a hurricane to make landfall along the coast and move inland while maintaining hurricane strength many hours later, but that's what Hurricane Michael will do as it moves into South Georgia late Wednesday and early Thursday morning.

After slamming Florida and lashing Georgia, Michael is now threatening the storm-weary Carolinas.

On the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, category 4 includes winds of up to 156mph with possible severe damage to even well-built homes and trees being felled.

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