Michael downgraded to tropical storm, kills 2 in Florida

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Every telephone pole in sight has snapped in half. "I would have to say at least as long as it did for Hurricane Andrew, and that took months and months". "The only way I can explain it, through my eyeballs, is a Third World country war zone".

Michael crashed ashore on Wednesday near the small town of Mexico Beach as the third most powerful hurricane ever to strike the USA mainland, carrying winds of up to 155 miles per hour (250 kilometers per hour) and causing deep seawater flooding.

Mexico Beach resident Patricia Mulligan said the concrete building she lives in shook and vibrated as the storm's center crossed nearby. "Somebody needs to come up and shake you and wake you up".

"I'm literally shocked at the scale of the destruction", storm chaser Josh Morgerman tweeted Wednesday night. And as rescue workers sift through the debris Thursday, many fear the death toll will rise.

Risky conditions from damaging winds and flooding rain were forecast to spread through Georgia and into the Carolinas Wednesday night and Thursday (Friday NZT).

Michael has now weakened to a tropical storm over south-central Georgia but is forecast to dump torrential rain over Florida, Alabama and Georgia, as well as the Carolinas and into Virginia.

Given the ongoing impacts, hurricane Michael still has 90 mph winds now nearly 5 hours after landall as we update this article, establishing the actual damage impacts and industry loss is going to take some time.

Brandon and Sydni Troupe were preparing for the grand opening this weekend of their new Panama City business when Michael hit. Emergency crews were heading to the home, but downed power lines and blocked roads were making the trip hard.

"It is extremely emotional", she said, fighting tears. No one has heard from them since Wednesday afternoon. "Don't try to get back into your homes until we give the word that it's all clear to come back".

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But the full extent of the damage was only slowly becoming clear, with some of the stricken areas hard to reach because of roads blocked by debris or water.

"I talked to the president yesterday and he said, 'Whatever resources you need, I'll get them to you, ' and that's the exact conversation I had with Brock Long this morning, so it nearly seems like every federal agency is down here", said Scott.

Bo Patterson, the mayor of Port St Joe, just south of Mexico Beach, rode out the storm in his house seven blocks from the beach, describing the scene outside as "very, very scary".

In the early morning hours Thursday, officials in Bay County, which includes the landfall area, said the county was under a mandatory boil-water notice.

One man died when a tree fell into his home on the Florida Panhandle, and an 11-year-old girl was killed after a tree fell onto her home in Georgia. About 359,000 customers in Florida were in the dark early Thursday, according to the state's emergency management agency. Further hindering rescue efforts were trees that had crashed into homes.

Previous year saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Harvey, which caused a record-equalling $125 billion in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area.

There are 10 military bases, with a combined 700,000 military members and their families in Michael's path, and not all of them evacuated, he said.

"It really started as a tropical storm, and then it went to Category 1, then it was Category 2 and before you know it, it was Category 4", O'Shaughnessy said. The planet has warmed significantly over the past several decades, causing changes in the environment. According to the US Energy Information Administration.

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