WHAT'S HAPPENING: Historic Hurricane Michael hits Florida

Hurricane Michael hits Florida barely skirting past Jewish community

'One Scary-Looking Storm': Watch Michael Arrive in Video from Space Station

Some the initial images emerging of powerful Hurricane Michael's impact on parts of the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday show the destructive force of the storm.

Michael weakened to a tropical storm Thursday after wreaking havoc along Florida's Gulf Coast, flooding homes and streets, ripping away roofs and snapping trees and power lines as it roared ashore as a raging Category 4 hurricane.

The storm packed 155-mile-per-hour winds when it came ashore, and also pushed a wall of ocean water into the Florida coast. When it comes to the wind advisory, gusts tonight as Michael makes its brush past us could be as high as 45 to 50 miles per hour at times.

"We are in new territory", National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook, the AP said.

"My God, it's scary. There are now 3 ROCA registrants in Tallahassee, Florida, 9 ROCA registrants in Panama City, Florida, 279 ROCA registrants in the state of Georgia, 36 ROCA registrants in the state of Alabama, and 60 ROCA registrants in the state of SC".

A storm surge of eight feet left beach-fronting roads and buildings under water, and its strength was the concern as it moved across the Florida Panhandle into Georgia.

Before the sun went down and the skies turned midnight blue, those in the path of Hurricane Michael shared glimpses of what some say is the worst hurricane damage they've seen.

Even before Michael made full landfall, it was whipping trees with its winds and flooding the town of Port St. Joe. It's very, very scary.

The hurricane downed trees and power lines as it began its push inland.

O'Shaughnessy said 2,216 active duty personnel had been pre-positioned ahead of the storm, along with 32 helicopters, 240 high-water vehicles and 32 swift water boats.

"This happened so quickly, we weren't exactly prepared", he said.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long said at the White House that he was especially concerned about buildings constructed before 2001, and not able to withstand such high winds.

Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Oct. 11, 2018, devastating the coastal town as it lashed the Florida Panhandle.

The Hurricane Hunters also got to see another rare site while they were flying through the eye of the storm - Michael's storm surge cascading over the coastline along the Florida Panhandle.

Michael is the third strongest hurricane to ever hit the United States mainland and the strongest to impact the Florida Panhandle.

Trump issued an emergency declaration for Florida, freeing up federal funds for relief operations and providing the assistance of FEMA, which has more than 3,000 people on the ground.

Rather than lingering in one region as Florence did, inundating the Carolinas with rain, Michael is expected to race north to Georgia by Thursday, and reach the coast of MA by the weekend, he said.

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