Watch for heavy rain and gusty winds as Michael approaches

NOAA via AP

'One Scary-Looking Storm': Watch Michael Arrive in Video from Space Station

Florida is also still shaking off the effects of Hurricane Irma in some places, with several resorts in the Florida Keys only just open again nearly a year after the Category 3 storm ripped through the area in September 2017.

The estimates for property damage along the coast still were untabulated, with video confirming roofs gone from the wind and water flooding buildings.

The initial flight was smooth, but things got steadily more turbulent as the aircraft got closer and closer to the eye of the storm.

"We just need people to be patient", Castor said. "The turbulence was astounding, but it was all worth it, because once you make it through the eyewall, you finally make it into the eye".

Hurricane Michael hit the Florida panhandle Wednesday as a Category 4 story, shocking even veteran storm-watchers with its destructive force.

"If there's others that are still in those areas or maybe people in Richmond that have loved ones that are in those areas and can still get out safely - we urge them to do so because it's not worth risking your life", he said.

At Jinks Middle School in Panama City, the storm peeled back part of the gym roof and tore off one wall, leaving the wooden floor covered in water.

After making landfall as one of the most powerful hurricanes in weather history, according to central pressure, what is now Tropical Storm Michael continues to track up the East Coast of the United States and while here across our region we are not likely to see any kind of direct hit from Michael, a glancing blow could still cause some issues, especially along the New Jersey and DE beaches. Now a tropical storm, Michael is headed to the Carolinas.

The death, in an area west of state capital Tallahassee, was the first confirmed since Michael made landfall.

"Michael will steadily weaken as it crosses the south-eastern United States through Thursday night, becoming a tropical storm by Thursday morning".

A National Guard team found 20 survivors there overnight and more crews were working through the wreckage on Thursday.

Weather services and authorities expect both the winds and storm surges from Hurricane Michael to cause significant damage to the Florida Panhandle.

Michael made landfall at about 1:40 p.m. Wednesday near desolate Mexico Beach, Florida.

Almost 370,000 people were left without power, mostly in Florida, but also Alabama and Georgia, news reports said.

The storm knocked the broadcast of Panama City-based WMBB off the air after the television station lost power, one of more than 263,000 customers experiencing blackouts in Florida.

The same will not be the case for the near 300-mile stretch of coastline from Pensacola to Cedar Key, which attracts around 17 million visitors a year to its pristine white-sand beaches and clear, shallow emerald-green waters.

The storm was expected to move across North Carolina and Virginia and push into the Atlantic Ocean by late Thursday or early Friday.

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