Search teams fan out to reach Hurricane Michaels victims

Wreckage in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Tallahassee FL

Wreckage in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Tallahassee FL

She said she feels "truly blessed" that her house "withstood the power" of the hurricane, although the neighborhood was hit hard and some parts were submerged in floodwater.

Michael killed at least two people - a man who died when a tree toppled onto his house in Florida and a girl who died when debris fell into a home in Georgia, officials and local media said.

Florida families are starting to emerge tentatively from darkened shelters and hotels to an unfamiliar and perilous landscape of shattered homes and shopping centers, beeping security alarms, wailing sirens and hovering helicopters, the Associated Press reported midday Thursday.

Widespread power outages are expected to stretch from parts of the Florida panhandle up through Georgia as well as the Carolinas, but anyone within reach of the storm's rapid winds should be prepared to be without power at some point over the next few days.

Michael was a Category 4 storm, just shy of a rare Category 5, when it came ashore. "We're going to be out of running water pretty shortly, I'm sure", she said.

Hurricane Michael obliterates Panama City high school.

"We are ready to open up a temporary morgue if necessary, but it doesn't look like that's going to be needed so that's an awesome thing", said Harris, who was working at the State Emergency Operations Center.

The town was under a mandatory evacuation order as the rapidly developing storm targeted the coast, but some people were determined to ride out the hurricane.

"We need to restore basic utilities, clear our roads of trees and power lines, and assess the structural integrity of our buildings".

One of the hardest-hit spots was Mexico Beach, where Michael crashed ashore Wednesday as a Category 4 monster with 155 miles per hour (250 kph) winds.

"I've lived here all my life and the storm brought things I've never seen", Lamonica said.

As much of the Florida Panhandle begins the extremely slow recovery from "monsterous" Hurricane Michael, we are getting an incredible look from inside the eye of the storm as it moved across Panama City.

POWER RESTORATION. Utility workers fix power lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida, on October 12, 2018. "This hurricane was an absolute monster". Downed power lines and twisted street signs lay all around. Pine trees were stripped and snapped off about 20 feet (7 meters) high.

More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were ordered or urged to evacuate as Michael closed in. Michael pushed a 10-foot (3-meter) storm surge and 155 miles per hour (249 kph) winds, just shy of a Category 5 hurricane, and Mexico Beach got the worst of it.

The hurricane disrupted energy operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico as it approached land, cutting crude oil production by more than 40 percent and natural gas output by almost one-third as offshore platforms were evacuated. "All of my furniture was floating", she said.

DAMAGED. Boats are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael on October 11, 2018, in Panama City, Florida.

The video shows collapsed roofing and walls, scattered debris and mangled building materials.

The state mental hospital in Chattahoochee, which has a section for the criminally insane, was cut off by land, and food and supplies were being flown in, authorities said.

Seminole County Emergency Management Agency director Travis Brooks said it wasn't a tree but a carport that hit her home and killed her.

After devastating coastal communities in the Florida Panhandle, the remnants of the storm, now downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, killed five people as it passed through the U.S. state of Virginia.

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