About 800,000 houses have no electricity and roughly 300 people are said to have evacuated to shelters. They said it's still not clear how many people stayed put and would need to be rescued.
The governors of North and SC urged residents to brace for heavy rain and storm-force winds as Michael plowed northward up the Atlantic seaboard. When her parents couldn't make it to church, Sarah would get up early and call her aunt for a ride, he said. A driver in North Carolina was killed when a tree fell on his vehicle. "There's flooding. Boats on the highway".
Gov. Rick Scott said search and rescue efforts would be "aggressive".
The hurricane damaged hospitals and nursing homes in the Panama City area, and state officials brought in ambulances to evacuate patients. They're also trying to figure out the extent of damage to roads and bridges.
Authorities reported 11 deaths as of Friday, with Virginia's state medical examiner ruling four drownings and the firefighter's death were storm-related. She said she was in the home when it was blown apart and is thankful to be alive.
He said strong winds picked up a portable carport Wednesday and dropped it down on the roof. But he said the sheriff told him it looked like a bomb had gone off.
This afternoon Eastern North Carolina is likely to see sustained winds of 25 miles per hour and could gust up to 40 miles per hour, according to Austin.
But Michael's quick progress means it won't have a chance to trigger the same widespread, epic flooding as past slow-moving hurricanes such as Florence and Harvey, which unleashed seemingly endless rains after stalling and hovering inland. But without extensive study, they can not directly link a single weather event to the changing climate.
At the Tyndall Air Force Base, about 15 miles northwest of Mexico Beach, the monster storm pushed over trucks and peeled back the roof of a massive airplane hangar.
A reporter and photojournalist from the Tampa Bay Times ventured there in the dark early Thursday, finding the town of about 1,000 nearly impassable.
Before and after imagery reveal many areas unrecognizable: Houses, buildings, marinas, and piers have been obliterated if not washed away entirely.
A landscape that once drew vacationers to secluded beaches was littered with refrigerators, toilets and staircases no longer connected to houses.
SULLIVAN: And local authorities are stressing timely evacuation, too. One couple was looking for their mother's portable oxygen machine.
Elmore said the road is closed west of Tallahassee, between mile marker 85 near DeFuniak Springs and mile marker 166 near Lake Seminole. "I would have to say at least as long as it did for Hurricane Andrew, and that took months and months".
A few days ago, Hurricane Michael was forecast to strike the Florida Panhandle as a relatively weak hurricane, and though unsafe, it was not meant to be historic.
According to Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist specialized in Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecasts, Michael was ranked the third strongest hurricane in terms of landfall pressure.
Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the USA mainland, behind the unnamed Labor Day storm of 1935 and Camille in 1969.
P.S. Hurricane Michael is an extremely risky storm. It was downgraded to a tropical storm at midnight on Wednesday.