Hurricane Michael: 'Unimaginable destruction after monster storm'

Storm Cameron Sadowski walks along Panama City beach as waves crash

It's expected to move out over the Atlantic Ocean later Thursday or early Friday.

Melendez captured the footage during a Facebook Live video, soon after Category 4 Hurricane Michael - packing 155 miles per hour winds - became the third-strongest cyclone to make landfall in USA history.

"The wind was really tearing us apart".

U.S. Army personnel used heavy equipment to push a path through debris in Mexico Beach to allow rescuers through to search for trapped residents, survivors or casualties, as Blackhawk helicopters circled overhead.

Storm-surge warnings were in place between Panama City Beach and Keaton Beach in Florida, and between Ocracoke Inlet and Duck in North Carolina.

Michael made landfall on Wednesday around 2 p.m. near Mexico Beach, Florida, dashing homes into pieces, swallowing marinas and leaving piles of rubble where shopping centres once stood.

Those images form a marked contrast with what Mexico Beach looked like before the storm hit: an idyllic seaside town with sand, palm trees and homes looking out to the Gulf of Mexico.

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.

An 11-year-old girl in southwestern Georgia also died when a tree fell on her home, officials said.

Sheriff Smith said the 12,000 residents of Franklin County received evacuation warnings from multiple sources, including Mr. Scott.

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Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, called Mexico Beach, which has a population of about 1,200, "ground zero" for the hurricane damage.

Thousands of home have been destroyed from Panama City to Mexico Beach along the Panhandle. Michael left a trail of utility wires on roads, flattened tall pine trees and knocked a steeple from a church.

Destin mayor and former longtime charter boat captain, Gary Jarvis, has reached out to his friends in the Panama City fishing fleet and the news isn't good.

"We thought the windows were going to break at any time", Beu said.

More than 900,000 homes and businesses in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas were without power.

In a series of tweets overnight, Florida Gov. Rick Scott urged patience as power crews work to restore electricity. The damage at Bay Medical Sacred Heart included blown-out windows and a cracked exterior wall but no patients were hurt. Last year, they welcomed children who were displaced by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

"The kids live nearby. I was told this morning that is is 'gone'".

Michael pummeled communities across the Panhandle and turned streets into roof-high waterways.

"One of the most heartbreaking things about this situation - after the video was posted - is the massive amounts of messages and emails I am getting from concerned family members who have not gotten in touch with their loved ones", Shavnore said. Wind damage was also evident.

Damage in Panama City near where Michael came ashore Wednesday afternoon was so extensive that broken and uprooted trees and downed power lines lay almost everywhere. Total damages from storm surge are estimated to be $3.7 billion, of which about ten percent will be insured.

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