Rescuers intensified efforts Saturday to find survivors who might be trapped amid the ruins of a small Florida Panhandle community almost obliterated by Hurricane Michael, where one body has already been recovered. Bob Tenbrunson, a Mexico Beach retiree, rode out the storm at his daughter's house in nearby Panama City and returned to survey the damage to his home.
State officials said Mexico Beach was under mandatory evacuation orders but some residents made a decision to stay and try to ride out the storm.
Forecasters said parts of Florida's marshy, lightly populated Big Bend area - the crook of Florida's elbow - could see up to 12ft of storm surge.
Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith said his deputies had gone door to door in some places along the coast to urge people to evacuate. They've also set up a triage tent to treat residents stepping on nails and cutting themselves on debris.
The speed of the storm gave many people a dwindling number of hours to prepare or flee before being caught up in damaging wind and rain. Michael was the most intense hurricane to strike the Florida Panhandle since record keeping began in 1851. They worry about their kids getting into school.
The eye of the storm was 20 miles north-northwest of Raleigh, N.C., as of the NHC's 5 p.m. EDT update. Bill Nelson, said a "wall of water" could cause destruction along the Panhandle.
"The safety of our student-athletes, staff and supporters in the Tallahassee area is paramount", men's basketball coach Leonard Hamilton said.
But some officials were anxious by what they weren't seeing a rush of evacuees.
"We are in new territory", National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook, the AP said.
Kemp said the bill totaled over $800 when she and her family fled Hurricane Irma's uncertain path a year ago.
"I was going to stay here until it turned to a Cat 4", he said. "We've got supplies to last us a week". "But I made it".
"What's happening is search and rescue is trying to get into the rubble to make sure that there's nobody covered up, trying to assess if there's additional casualties there", Long added.
In the dangerously exposed coastal town of Apalachicola, population 2,500, Sally Crown planned to go home and hunker down with her two dogs. "We'll starve to death by then", she said. "This might be really bad and serious".
In Florida, the governor is able to order a mandatory evacuation, but it's unclear how the rules and regulations are enforced. That included Pensacola Beach but not in Pensacola itself, a city of about 54,000.
Governor Rick Scott said state officials still "do not know enough" about the fate of those who stayed behind in the region.
That is because it is not just power lines that would be broken by the intense winds, it is the power structure itself, the power stations, power poles, and more.
As the storm closed in on the US, it caused havoc in the Caribbean.
"Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed".
Almost 400,000 people were told to evacuate and many did.
Disaster agencies in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua reported 13 deaths as roofs collapsed and residents were carried away by swollen rivers.