Florida town almost wiped off the map by Hurricane Michael

Hurricane Michael causes widespread damage in Florida

Hurricane Michael causes widespread damage in Florida Hurricane Michael caused significant damage to Florida on Wednesday

At least two deaths were blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental USA in over 50 years, and it wasn't done yet: Though weakened into a tropical storm, it continued to bring heavy rain and blustery winds to the Southeast as it pushed inland, soaking areas still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

Four to five inches of rain was predicted with the storm in North Carolina and rainfall totals recorded by the U.S.

Some fear the toll can only rise as rescue teams get around storm debris blocking roads and reach isolated areas.

"The National Hurricane Center reported maximum sustained winds near 150 miles per hour with the potential to bring unsafe storm surge and heavy rains to the Florida panhandle area".

Michael is now pushing maximums sustained winds of 50 miles per hour and is moving at a speed of 21 miles per hour.

Almost 500,000 customers were without power in North Carolina, and another 92,000 in SC, according to the states' emergency management divisions.

The stunning footage was taken by Florida resident Stefan Melendez despite 155mph winds battering the state just 20-30miles away. The hurricane damaged hospitals and nursing homes in Panama City, and officials worked to evacuate hundreds of patients. Homes were split open by fallen trees. Downed power lines and twisted street signs lay all around. Palm trees whipped wildly in the winds.

Nearly 1.1 million homes and businesses were without power from Florida to Virginia early Friday.

Vance Beu, 29, was staying with his mother at her home, Spring Gate Apartments, a complex of single-story wood frame buildings where they piled up mattresses around themselves for protection. "For me the cotton crop is as bad as it gets".

"It was terrifying, honestly". "If we're going to rebuild, do it right".

The storm blew ashore early Wednesday afternoon near Florida's Mexico Beach as a Category 4 hurricane. But after the storm passed, she emerged to check on the cafe she manages and discovered a scene of breathtaking destruction.

Hurricane Michael's violence was visible on Thursday in shattered Florida coastal towns, where rows of homes were ripped from foundations and roofs were peeled off schools by the near-record-force storm blamed for seven deaths.

After Michael cut a destructive path through Panama City, hundreds of utility crews responded, ready to restore power.

Hurricane Michael came as a surprise to some.

"I've never seen anything like this craziness", said Tamara's Cafe owner Danny Itzkovitz, 54, as he was busy grilling burgers. The storm hit the Florida Panhandle and southwest Georgia hard, taking the lives of at least two people.

Emergency officials said they have received thousands of calls asking about missing people.

The eye of the storm alleviated some pressure of Panama City residents by giving them some time without the relentless torment of mother nature. "That is just one more hazard that we didn't need", said Panama City resident Brooke Esposito.

Phil Klotzbach, Colorado Springs University meteorologist, ranked Hurricane Michael unofficially as the fourth strongest in US history and third-strongest to hit Florida, as well as the most powerful hurricane to crash the Florida panhandle.

In the case of Michael, the storm appeared to be heading into a hurricane-snuffing environment of strong wind sheer, the differences in wind speed and direction that can disrupt a hurricane's rotating, cone-shaped structure. The surge had brought stuff in.

Before: Mexico Beach, Fla. Though most homes were still standing, no property was left undamaged. "We hope that news continues". It is behind only Hurricane Camille that hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969 and the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 that made landfall in the Florida Keys. Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather, such as storms, droughts, floods and fires.

In the aftermath of this storm, officials are beginning to reflect on how the catastrophic damage could have been prevented.

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