It was the third strongest storm on record to hit the continental United States, behind only Hurricane Camille on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969 and the Labour Day hurricane of 1935 in the Florida Keys.
Florida emergency officials say they have rescued almost 200 people and checked 25,000 structures since Hurricane Michael battered the state this week. Now recovery is just barely beginning from the catastrophic destruction even as a downgraded Michael spreads high winds, rains and flash flooding misery as far away as Virginia.
Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather, such as storms, droughts, floods and fires.
The number of people in emergency shelters was expected to swell to 20,000 across five states by Friday, said Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross.
The fifth came when a tractor-trailer ran into a firetruck providing crash assistance on the highway.
Bob Tenbrunson, a Mexico Beach retiree, rode out the storm at his daughter´s house in nearby Panama City and returned to survey the damage to his home. Their infrastructure, from homes to supermarkets, have been reduced to rubble.
"We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the loved ones and friends of those killed", Cooper said in a statement.
October 11, 2018: Hurricane Michael has killed 2 and left close to a million homes and businesses without power.
Numerous houses in Mexico Beach were reduced to naked concrete foundations or piles of debris. Scrolling through counties and power companies, 98 to 100 percent blackouts are common. If the hurricane reached 157 miles per hour, it would be considered Category 5, the highest hurricane category. The whole area. they're going to tear down these houses and rebuild it. "This is just a small unique coastal community". "These are not people prone to hyperbole", Rubio said on CNN, per the New York Times.
"Before, it was paradise", Mexico Beach resident Lance Hanson told NPR's Greg Allen.
Michael blew ashore near Mexico Beach, a tourist town about half way along the Panhandle, a lightly populated, 200-mile stretch of white-sand beach resorts, fishing towns and military bases. It was heading northeast at 24 miles per hour (39 kph). Just last month, SC was hit by Hurricane Florence. Landfall is expected between 1 and 3 P.M. Eastern time, with the eye to the east of Florida's capital, Tallahassee.
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This item has been updated and clarified to show that only one body had been found. "I will be visiting both Florida and Georgia early next week".
By early Friday it wasn't almost over yet: a tropical storm long after Wednesday's landfall, Michael stubbornly kept up its punch while barreling over land toward an expected exit across the open Atlantic.
Three others died in Gadsden County, Hightower said.
"All coastal tropical cyclone warnings and watches are discontinued", the National Hurricane Center said on Friday morning, adding, "There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect". Water levels are rapidly rising in the panhandle.
"I don't think it will ever be the same", said husband Danny Sinclair, 64, who is semi-retired.
Gas stations in Florida already are running out of fuel.
"The worst thing you can do now is act foolishly" by putting yourself in danger or keeping law enforcement from saving lives, he said at a news conference.
Emergency officials said they have received thousands of calls asking about missing people.
"It should also be noted that an area of damaging wind gusts of up to 50 kt has developed around the northwest side of the circulation over central North Carolina and Virginia this afternoon", the National Hurricane Center said late Thursday. Global warming has played a significant role in strengthening these storms.