The Houston County Emergency Management Agency in Alabama told people to stay off the roads.
Michael battered the shoreline with sideways rain, powerful gusts and crashing waves, swamping streets and docks, flattening trees, stripped away leaves, shredding awnings and peeling away shingles. Officials hadn't immediately confirmed the man's name. The storm is expected to move across southwestern and central Georgia Wednesday night, weakening as it continues to move northeast Thursday and then off the coast into the Atlantic Ocean early Friday, according to the latest National Hurricane Center advisory. By 8pm, it was down to a category 1.
At the Panama City news station WJHG/WECP, reporter Tyler Allender tweeted that his colleagues were taking shelter in a hallway in the middle of the building because "this wind is SERIOUS".
The water was 2.2C to 2.8C (4F to 5F) warmer than normal, and high atmosphere winds that can disrupt a hurricane were quiet.
Hurricane Michael's winds caused structures to collapse and blew risky debris through the streets in the Florida Panhandle's coastal towns.
Roads were flooded, trees uprooted and homes destroyed after the "monstrous" storm ploughed into Mexico Beach at around 2pm and swept across the state. "It's like a nightmare". How can this happen?
A transformer also exploded in Panama City Beach.
The storm surge, which is the elevated sea level around the storm itself that pushes onto land as the hurricane makes landfall, has spread from the panhandle down the Florida peninsula, reaching as far as Tampa.
Pine trees litter a backyard in Florida.
More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were urged to evacuate as Michael closed in.
Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican running for the US Senate in November's congressional elections, declared a state of emergency in 35 Florida counties. Ranked as a Category 4, the disaster ruined the town's commercial industry and its status as a major port whilst claiming the lives of up to 12,000 inhabitants.
"It's absolutely horrendous. Catastrophic", Crown said about the scene of devastation.
"Our biggest concern is... the people that chose not to evacuate", he told CNN.
"Panama City, I don't know if there will be much left", he added.
"I think that we just caught the band of it. We will take care of each other".
At 4pm (local time) radar showed the eye of the storm about to pass over Interstate 10 in Florida's Panhandle.
The Category 4 storm created storm surges up to 14 feet in areas, inflicted damages across Tyndall Air Force Base east of Panama City and spawned at least two "devastating" tornadoes in Gadsden County.
Even before landfall, the hurricane disrupted energy operations in the Gulf, cutting crude oil production by more than 40% and natural gas output by almost a third as offshore platforms were evacuated ahead of the storm's arrival.
"Human needs, there's going to be a lot", Maul said.
In Port St. Joe, two storm chasers had to abandon their vehicle and find shelter as over 100 miles per hour wind gusts and heavy rain made it impossible for them to drive.
"I felt like the odds are in our favor", Reynolds said.
This is preferred by Klotzbach, who explains that it is more precise for historical comparisons because it is measured precisely by an airplane flying in the middle of the storm's eye, whereas "wind is going to be different everywhere along the hurricane".
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.
AccuWeather Vice President of Forecasting and Graphics Operations Marshall Moss said: "A Category 4 hurricane has never struck that part of Florida". The sinister-looking red and gray skull appeared briefly on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration infrared satellite images. That sort of timetable can make evacuations more hard to manage. Some 17,000 utility restoration workers were also on call. It was centred about 88.5km west northwest of Tallahassee.
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