At least two deaths were blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in over 50 years, and it wasn't done yet: Though weakened into a tropical storm, it continued to bring heavy rain and blustery winds to the Southeast as it pushed inland, soaking areas still recovering from Hurricane Florence.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said the storm had caused "unbelievable devastation" and the priority for the moment was looking for survivors among residents who failed to heed orders to evacuate.
"It's like our lives are gone, everything we have is gone now", he said.
Four people in Gredsden County, Florida, a driver in Iredell County, North Carolina, and an 11-year-old girl in Georgia has died as a result of the storm.
President Donald Trump pledged to help storm victims.
An estimated 6,000 people evacuated to emergency shelters, mostly in Florida, and that number was expected to swell to 20,000 across five states by week's end, said Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross. "We will not rest or waver until the job is done and the recovery is complete".
More than 900,000 homes and businesses are still without power in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas.
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Some of the most devastating pictures came from the tiny city of Mexico Beach - southeast of Panama City. Others were missing roofs or walls.
While search-and-rescue teams were having difficulty reaching some areas on Thursday, the extent of the damage is slowly becoming clear with the before and after images showing the severe destruction.
At least seven people were killed by the storm in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina from falling trees and other hurricane-related incidents, according to state officials.
The hurricane, the fiercest to hit Florida in 80 years, pummeled communities across the Panhandle and turned streets into roof-high waterways.
Many residents with destroyed or damaged homes counted themselves lucky to have survived.
The storm mangled buildings, toppled trees and covered roads in water.
Downed power lines lay almost everywhere.
One of the carport's legs punctured the roof and hit her in the head. Aluminium siding was shredded to ribbons. Twisted street signs lay on the ground. Both were killed when trees crashed onto their homes.
It's unclear how many of them are missing. But it moved fast and intensified quickly, and emergency authorities lamented that many people ignored the warnings.