Michael came ashore with winds just under a Category 5 storm.
Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 miles per hour Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods.
Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the US mainland, behind the unnamed Labor Day storm of 1935 and Camille in 1969.
"It is extremely emotional", she said, fighting tears.
A woman makes her way to an evacuation shelter in Tallahassee, Florida.
Reid Garrett warned that every single building he'd seen in Panama City, had damage.
An estimated 375,000 people in more than 20 counties were ordered or advised to evacuate.
Officials urged residents to heed evacuation orders, particularly in coastal areas where some mandatory evacuations are already under way.
Panama City looked like a war zone after being battered for almost three hours by strong winds and heavy rains.
What does Hurricane Michael have in store for the Carolinas?
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As of 5 p.m. EDT, Michael is still a Category 3 major hurricane with its peak winds measuring 125 miles per hour. 4 storm to hit the Florida Panhandle (in records dating back to 1851.) The storm started off as a tropical depression the weekend before, and had reached Category 2 strength just a day before it hit landfall.
"Going back through records to 1851 we can't find another Cat 4 in this area, so this is unfortunately a historical and incredibly unsafe and life-threatening situation", he said.
He said he could see a 90-foot pine bent at a 45 degree angle and said: "We are catching some hell".
Megan Williams, left, and roommate Kaylee O'Brian take belongings from their destroyed home after several trees fell on the house during Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Oct. 10, 2018.
It made landfall on the coast as a Category 1 hurricane on September 14 and drenched some parts of the state with 40 inches (101 centimeters) of rain.
"I say God bless you all", Mr Trump said. "Things happen to even the most experienced chasers", said Rachael Adair.
President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida, freeing up federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses. The hospital said it is running off of generators and patients have been moved to safe areas of the facility. Forecasters said it will unleash damaging wind and rain all the way into the Carolinas, still recovering from Hurricane Florence's epic flooding. Hurricanes form over the Atlantic and North Pacific oceans and cause most damage to the Americas while typhoons form in the Northwest Pacific Ocean, impacting Asia.
According to Climate Central, a scientific research organization, the coming decades are expected to bring hurricanes that intensify more rapidly, should there be no change in the rate of greenhouse gas emissions.
Sally Crown rode out Michael on the Florida Panhandle thinking at first that the worst damage was the many trees downed in her yard. More than 200 people were killed. The hurricane hit the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm.
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- Michael gaining strength, churning toward Florida
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