Hurricane Michael tears apart Florida towns, 7 dead

The time for evacuating is gone’ Record-breaking Hurricane Michael set to batter Florida

- Major pressure: 919 millibars minimum pressure in the hurricane's eye, the third most intense hurricane landfall in the U.S.in recorded history.

Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc in Florida on October 10.

The initial flight was smooth, but things got steadily more turbulent as the aircraft got closer and closer to the eye of the storm.

"We had roughly 4,000 people spend the night in a Red Cross or partner shelters - we expect that number could rise but now we're just urging people to listen to the local officials - heed those warnings because this is a very, very unsafe storm".

The agency said that the unsafe storm surge continues along the coast of the Florida Panhandle. Soon enough, Mexico Beach's emerald waters and sugar-sand beaches were covered in a dark sea of debris, she said.

Duke Energy reported more than 100,000 outages for customers in North and South Carolina Thursday afternoon and that number continued to grow.

Scott declared a state of emergency in 35 Florida counties. "The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no Category-4 hurricane ever hitting the Florida Panhandle".

The storm made landfall near Panama City in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, the most powerful hurricane to hit the region since the mid-1800s, according to the Federal Emergency Management Service.

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Authorities had urged coastal residents in 20 Florida counties along a 200-mile (320-km) stretch of shoreline to head to higher ground before the storm, but anyone who had not fled by Wednesday morning was told it was too late to evacuate. It was heading north-northeast at 14 miles per hour (22 kph) with maximum sustained winds down to 150 miles per hour, the hurricane center said. By early Thursday, Michael had been downgraded to a tropical storm.

With a storm surge that could hit 13 feet, Michael could blow ashore as the strongest in the nation this year.

Videos have been posted throughout the day as the hurricane hits the Gulf Coast and one in particular taken in Panama City Beach, Florida shows the insane power of the storm.

Schools and state offices in the area are to remain shut this week.

A unsafe storm surge continued along the coastal Florida panhandle; a National Ocean Service station in Apalachicola was reporting 5 feet of water above the ground level.

About 2,500 National Guard troops were deployed to assist with evacuations and storm preparations, and more than 4,000 others were on standby.

Michael, a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane intensity scale when it came ashore, was causing flash flooding on Thursday in parts of North Carolina and Virginia, where some areas could get as much as 23 cm of rain, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. On Thursday, Michael was drenching the Carolinas with heavy rains as it headed toward the Atlantic Ocean as a tropical storm.

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