Video Shows Hurricane Michael Ripping Apart Buildings in Florida

Briefing Mr Trump, Brock Long, the United States government's disaster chief, said: "This is the most intense hurricane that's struck this area since 1851".

A total of 453 flights had been cancelled on Wednesday across the country, with many occurring in the Florida area.

- High tides: storm surge of 6 feet (2 meters) up to 14 feet (4 meters) forecast for Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend.

Last Thursday, forecasters were saying that what was then called Tropical Storm Michael "does not pose a threat to land".

Helen Neal, 88, and her husband, J.W. Neal, 87, preferred to take their chances in a hotel rather than in their two-story beachfront house about a mile away in Panama City. Those with marine interests should stay tuned to future updates and warnings from the National Weather Service.

Michael is continuing to strengthen as its minimum central pressure has dropped to 919 millibars. According to the National Hurricane Center, "most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months".

Michael grew from a tropical storm into a Category 4 hurricane over the course of about 40 hours. That makes it the fourth strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in the U.S. The hurricane's winds and waves were so strong, their rumblings were detected on seismometers - equipment created to measure earthquakes.

The storm hit roared ashore along the Florida Panhandle, between Tyndall Air Force Base and Mexico Beach, according to NASA.

Meteorologists offered stark warnings ahead of Wednesday's landfall. Michael did this after passing over unusually warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, which likely helped to increase the storm's moisture content and provide fuel for more intense thunderstorms, a deeper central pressure, and stronger winds. A wind gust to 46 miles per hour was recently reported inland at Tallahassee, according to the Hurricane Center advisory.

The eye of the storm, ... This risk will spread northward into parts of Georgia and southern SC this afternoon and tonight. And then there was the life-threatening storm surge.

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Wind gusts blew out windows in homes and office buildings, including the First Federal Bank.

A Storm Surge Watch has been issued for the coast of North Carolina from Ocracoke Inlet to Duck.

A satellite image of Michael took the terrifying shape of a skull as it roared closer to the Florida Panhandle as a fierce Category 4 storm on Tuesday.

As of 5 p.m. EDT, Michael is still a Category 3 major hurricane with its peak winds measuring 125 miles per hour. The monster hurricane was the most powerful ever recorded to hit the Panhandle and was on par with Hurricanes Irma, which swept across Florida in September 2017, and Andrew, which devastated Homestead in 1992.

Hurricane-force winds extended up to 45 miles (72 kilometers) from Michael's center at the height of the storm. Expected landfall is mid-afternoon.

Jason Phipps looks through his family's roofless apartment after Hurricane Michael made landfall in Panama City, Fla.

"Hurricane Michael is an unprecedented event and can not be compared to any of our previous events".

Before the storm made landfall, Scott said he activated 3,500 members of the Florida National Guard.

A tweet by ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee also showed a what appeared to be a structure that had been torn apart by the storm, its wooden remnants littered like toothpicks in the flood waters. He has covered hurricanes in the state for decades.

Michael is forecast to move off the Mid-Atlantic coast by early Friday, the NHC said.

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