Now a Tropical Storm, Michael Leaves Devastation in Florida

Jason lives in Panama City Florida and stayed during the hurricane

Image Jason Roper stayed behind for his elderly neighbours

It's left hundreds of thousands of people without power and an untold number of people homeless. Recreational vehicles, trucks, and even trains were pushed over, surrounded by new lakes of water.

Hurricane Michael's pounding waves and winds obliterated row after row of beachfront homes at ground zero on the Florida Panhandle when the epic Category 4 hurricane slammed ashore at midweek.

And, impressively, Michael's top sustained winds are growing again, to near 65 miles per hour (100 kph) at 5 a.m., with forecasters saying it will grow stronger still. We'll update this story as more information becomes available.

Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center treated some people but the hospital evacuated 130 patients as it was dealing with its own hurricane effects.

A man died in Greensboro, northwest of Tallahassee, after a tree crashed down on his home late Wednesday afternoon, local law enforcement officials confirmed.

Receding floodwater are just starting to reveal the extent of damage.

Flooded streets and debris are left in the wake of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla.

But after the storm passed, she emerged to check on the cafe she manages and discovered a scene of breathtaking destruction.

Jason Gunderson of the Cajun Navy said flooding and downed power lines made most streets impassible.

State officials said 285 people in Mexico Beach had refused to leave ahead of the hurricane despite a mandatory evacuation order.

Across the bay in Panama City Beach, a resort city on the Gulf of Mexico known for its white-sand beach and amusement parks, winds of about 100 miles per hour furiously whipped the trees in the early afternoon and pulled apart homes.

"It wasn't until we hit the eyewall that things kind of got a little dicey", he said. The Alabama governor also requested a declaration of emergency. Warnings and watches were issued for as far west as Alabama's border with MS, and for the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas.

The NHC said tropical storm Michael will continue to move northeast toward the Carolinas - as of 0900 GMT the eye was in eastern Georgia - until it moves off the mid-Atlantic coast by early Friday.

"The second death was reported in Georgia's Seminole County early Thursday, apparently caused by debris crashing through a mobile home and killing a child inside", the Washington Post reported.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency urged people to avoid using roads as excessive rainfall from the storm may lead to flash floods.

Other parts of Georgia also were hit hard by the storm.

"All of America sends its unwavering love and support", he said at the rally.

"We're going to need a massive amount of volunteers", Porter added.

"It looks like a war zone", said B. Cody Shields, a 31-year-old who rode out the storm in his parents' Panama City home, not far from where Michael's center made landfall.

Unusually warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico turbo-charged the storm from a tropical depression on Sunday.

It does remain important to note that hurricane Michael is still an ongoing loss event and claims filing, assessment and quantification will take some time, especially given the rapid inland track with hurricane force winds. On Tuesday morning, wind speeds reached 110, and at nightfall, forecasters believed they would go no higher than 129.

Michael rapidly intensified as it churned north over the Gulf of Mexico and caught many by surprise.

Tropical storm conditions are occurring over portions of central and eastern SC and will spread northward over central and eastern North Carolina this afternoon and evening.

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