Tropical Storm Michael, formerly Hurricane Michael, which bashed the Florida panhandle as one of the worst storms to ever hit the U.S.in recorded history, continues working through North Carolina on a risky path leading to Virginia. Forecasters say the storm has already begun shedding its tropical characteristics but will take on a new chapter as a powerful extratropical storm with gale force winds on its trek out to sea.
As Hurricane Michael barrels toward the US states along the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, and Tropical Storm Leslie lingers in the Central Atlantic, Tropical Storm Nadine has formed off the west coast of Africa in the far eastern Atlantic. When the house filled with storm surge water, they fled upstairs.
Along the 200-mile Panhandle, Michael washed away white-sand beaches, hammered military bases and destroyed coastal communities, stripping trees to stalks, shredding roofs, toppling trucks and pushing boats into buildings.
"All of my furniture was floating", said Ms Marquardt, 67. The emergency call came in on Wednesday afternoon, but responders weren't able to get to the home until early Thursday because "the roads were so messed up", Brooks said. "It was very bad, and now there's just nothing left".
- Rescued: 47 helped out of hard-hit areas along Florida's coastline, and 20 people in flooded neighborhoods in North Carolina.
Damage in Panama City was extensive, with broken and uprooted trees and power lines down almost everywhere.
Warnings have also been been expanded to the U.S. east coast, from Fernandina Beach - just north of Jacksonville - to SC, as forecasters fear the storm will spread rapidly as it moves inland.
As thousands of National Guard troops, law enforcement officers and medical teams spread out, the governor pleaded with people in the devastated areas to stay away because of hazards such as fallen trees and power lines.
Florida families are starting to emerge tentatively from darkened shelters and hotels to an unfamiliar and perilous landscape of shattered homes and shopping centers, beeping security alarms, wailing sirens and hovering helicopters, the Associated Press reported midday Thursday.
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Nearby Panama City Beach experienced similar damage along with other communities along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico.
Sarah Radney saw trees falling down all around her grandparents' home when Hurricane Michael roared over Georgia. We thought the windows were going to break at any time.
Two hospitals in Panama City were closed, but two temporary facilities opened to receive their patients and other people injured by the storm.
"This hurricane was an absolute monster", Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday.
The Florida Panhandle is the wide strip in the northwest corner of the state bordered by the Gulf of Mexico to the south and Alabama and Georgia to the north. An 11-year-old girl in Georgia died when Michael's winds picked up a carport and dropped it through the roof of her grandparents' home.
A driver in North Carolina also was killed when a tree fell on his auto.
So far, Coast Guard crews in Florida have rescued 40 people and assisted 232. It developed into a hurricane on Monday, and by today, more than 140,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders.
Mishelle McPherson and her ex-husband searched for the elderly mother of a friend. Neighbors struggled to find their homes on streets with piles of wood where houses once stood.
"I can't think anymore because I just don't know what to do", she told CNN's Gary Tuchman, breaking down in tears. But it moved so fast and intensified so quickly that people didn't have much time to prepare, and emergency authorities lamented that many ignored the warnings.