Before-and-after photos show Hurricane Michael's catastrophic destruction in Florida

Posted October 13, 2018

It could send life-threatening surges of ocean water to coastal areas throughout the state.

325,000: Estimated number of people in the storm's path who were told to evacuate by local authorities.

The storm has sustained winds of 130mph (210km/h) and is due to make landfall at about midday (16:00 GMT). A little more and he would have reached the most destructive of the 5th category, which is called catastrophic. Officials predicted rebuilding costs in the billions.

"When the water came in, houses started floating in front of our home", he said.

- Power outages: More than 932,000 customers in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and SC without power. "Mexico Beach, there's no barrier island out there to protect it, so it got the full force of the Category 4 wind and that wall of water". "And the damage left in its wake is still yet to be fully understood", he added. Homes were split open by fallen trees. Hundreds of cars had broken windows, many turned askew by the wind.

PANAMA CITY, FL - OCTOBER 10: People look on at a damaged store after Hurricane Michael passed through on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida.

Numerous beach's residents followed evacuation orders. The elementary school, the flight line, the marina and the runways were devastated.

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Security around Windsor was tight, with airport-style security checks and large numbers of police. Brooksbank, 32, works for Casamigos, the tequila brand owned by George Clooney and Rande Gerber.

"I will not recall you and your families until we can guarantee your safety. At this time I can't tell you how long that will take, but I'm on it", Laidlaw wrote.

Gov. Rick Scott said search and rescue efforts would be "aggressive".

Many flights were canceled in the hurricane zone, and Amtrak changed some train schedules to protect passengers and employees. "So many families have lost everything", he lamented.

One of the four victims from Florida has been identified as Steven Sweet, the Gadsden County sheriff's office said.

A man was killed by a tree falling on a Florida home and an 11-year-old girl died after a tree came down on a house in south-west Georgia.

CNN reported a sixth death, a 38-year-old man who died on Thursday when a tree fell on his auto in North Carolina.

Florida officials said more than 400,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in Florida and Governor Scott said almost 20,000 utility workers had been deployed to restore power.

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Kemp said the bill totalled over $800 when she and her family fled Hurricane Irma's uncertain path previous year.

A Virginia firefighter - Lt. Brad Clark - was killed when a tractor-trailer slammed into his fire truck on a slick road in the storm. Michael is expected to dump up to 7 inches of rain in parts of North Carolina and Virginia, the National Hurricane Center said.

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

More than a million people are without electricity, and areas along the Gulf Coast and elsewhere report severe outages of cellphone service and other communications. Around the same time, Virginia's emergency agency said more than 446,000 customers had no electricity.

ABC News meteorologist Ginger Zee saw a devastating storm surge in Mexico Beach, Florida, topple a house from its foundation. National Guard troops found 20 survivors initially Wednesday night, and more rescue crews are arriving.

Mishelle McPherson and her ex-husband searched for a friend's elderly mother who thought she would be OK in her small cinderblock house just 150 yards (meters) from the Gulf.

"Don't think that you can ride this out if you're in a low-lying area", Nelson said on CNN. "Do you think it would have floated away?" she asked.

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An Associated Press team drove for miles and encountered extensive destruction around Panama City, just west of where the centre of Michael's eye hit the shore. Others include Jonathan Drew in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Maryland.