Florida picks up the pieces in Hurricane Michael's wake

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Only the 1935 "Labor Day" hurricane, which hit the Florida Keys, and 1969's Hurricane Camille, which struck MS, were more intense at landfall in all of US history.

Accuweather predicted Michael's total damage and economic impact will reach close to $30 billion, which would make it one of the 10 costliest hurricanes in USA history.

A marina warehouse is damaged at the Port St. Joe Marina.

Exploding overnight from 120 mph to 140 mph maximum sustained winds, Hurricane Michael developed into a powerful Category 4 hurricane that's now just hours from landfall on the Florida Panhandle.

"One of my key concerns right now going into is that we haven't seen as robust of an evacuation response from the civilian population that we have seen in other storms", O'Shaughnessy said.

The Florida Department of Transportation is leading an effort with "dozens of crews" to clear roadways so first responders can access more areas that have been affected by the storm, the governor said.

"The devastation is just disgusting", Parker said of Port St. Joe, where he moved two years ago from IL.

Michael is responsible for at least two deaths, including a man in Greensboro, Fla., who was killed when a tree fell through his home, according to a Gadsden County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.

Where the military ends up responding could shift north as Michael moves up the coast to the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence. The winds lifted up the rectangular porch roof, then slammed it down to the floor. The roar of the winds, he said, sounded like a jet engine.

Pine trees litter a backyard in Florida.

Severe flooding, heavily damaged buildings, uprooted trees and downed power lines appeared widespread in coastal areas near the storm's landfall.

Tropical storm warnings were in effect for parts of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

When the steep-walled eye of Hurricane Michael passed over Stefan Melendez Wednesday afternoon, he stepped into the temporarily tranquil Florida environment and saw blue skies above.

Storm damage is seen after Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida on October 10, 2018.

With a low barometric pressure recorded at 919 millibars, the measure of a hurricane's force, it ranked as the third strongest storm on record to make landfall in the continental United States. The hurricane is also expected to bring a storm surge up to 14 feet high.

Hurricane Michael, the most powerful storm the USA has seen in almost 50 years, is moving through the Florida Panhandle, ripping apart homes and sending walls of water rushing inland. It was moving northeast at 23 miles per hour (37 kph). About 359,000 customers in Florida were in the dark early Thursday, according to the state's emergency management agency. It was centred about 88.5km west northwest of Tallahassee.

The overall weather pattern is undergoing a complete flip from what we've seen over the past several months and cooler than average conditions can now be expected for the rest of October, beginning this weekend.

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