The most powerful hurricane on record to hit Florida's Panhandle left wide destruction and at least one person dead and wasn't almost finished Thursday as it crossed Georgia toward the Carolinas, still reeling from epic flooding in Hurricane Florence.
State officials issued disaster declarations in Alabama and Georgia and the storm is also expected to bring heavy rainfall to North and SC.
"It feels like a nightmare", she said."Looking at the pictures, I'm thinking there is not a house left in that town".
Multiple airports were closed on Wednesday, including Tallahassee International Airport, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, Pensacola International Airport and Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport.
Mike Thomas, the mayor of Panama City Beach, a resort west of Panama City, said he expected there would be casualties and that emergency personnel would not go out when winds get over 80km/h. It moved so fast that people didn't have much time to prepare, and emergency authorities lamented that many ignored the warnings and seemed to think they could ride it out.
A unsafe storm surge continued along the coastal Florida panhandle; a National Ocean Service station in Apalachicola was reporting 5 feet of water above the ground level.
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"Those who stick around to experience storm surge don't typically live to tell about it".
Michael, located about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Albany, Georgia and packing maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 km/h), is forecast to become post-tropical cyclone on Friday, the Miami-based weather forecaster said.
"Our biggest concern is... the people that chose not to evacuate", he told CNN.
The National Weather Service office in the state capital Tallahassee issued a dramatic appeal for people to comply with evacuation orders. Only the 1935 storm and Camille had lower pressures, Mr. Klotzbach said.
Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican running for the US Senate in November's congressional elections, declared a state of emergency in 35 Florida counties. He acknowledged that a lot of the residents in the area were poor and said it was probably tough to leave. "This happened so quickly", he said.
A water-level station in Apalachicola, close to where Michael came ashore, reported a surge of almost 8 feet (2.5 meters). It was the most powerful hurricane on record to hit the Panhandle. The Carolinas are still reeling from severe flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence less than a month ago.
A total of 453 flights had been cancelled on Wednesday across the country, with many occurring in the Florida area. More than 40,000 people lost power across the state.