Hurricane Michael Ravaged Mexico Beach

'Monster' Hurricane Michael strengthens on its way to Florida

The sky cleared on Thursday, in contrast to the torrential rain of the previous day.

Scott was set to travel Thursday afternoon with the Florida National Guard to Panama City and Mexico Beach, where Michael came ashore midday Wednesday with 155 miles per hour maximum sustained winds, the strongest ever recorded in the region.

Pictures and video from Mexico Beach, a community of about 1,000 people where Michael made landfall around 1:00 pm Eastern time, showed scenes of devastation, with houses floating in flooded streets, some ripped from their foundations and missing roofs. Marco Rubio said he was told, "Mexico Beach is gone".

The storm killed two people.

Michael weakened to a tropical storm and was moving northeast Thursday, with tropical storm warnings in effect from Georgia to North Carolina, including Savannah, Raleigh, Wilmington and Charleston.

Tyndall Air Force Base took a "direct hit" from Michael's Category 4 hurricane winds of up to 155 miles per hour, which caused significant structural damage and left the runway's use still in question, Air Force officials said in a statement.

Never before has such an intense storm reached landfall this late in the year.

More than 30,000 workers from at least 24 states have been mobilized to restore power, officials said. "And the damage left in its wake is still yet to be fully understood". "This isn't going to help". He spent the early part of the morning making national television appearances. "Hopefully more people will leave".

The areas that took the brunt of the storm are spread out, officials said, with very few access points where they can receive aid.

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The region should brace for "major infrastructure damage", specifically to electricity distribution, wastewater treatment systems and transportation networks, Jeff Byard, associate administrator for FEMA, told reporters on a conference call with Reuters. "If you are in an inland county you might have one more chance to evacuate, but only if local officials say it is safe". "Fatalities may be realized".

It made landfall on the coast as a Category 1 hurricane on September 14 and drenched some parts of the state with 40 inches (101 centimeters) of rain.

A National Guard team got into Mexico Beach and found 20 survivors overnight, and more crews were pushing into the area in the morning, with the fate of many other residents unknown. Roofs and awnings are peeled from buildings, pieces of homes are scattered amid snapped trees and downed power lines, chunks of beaches are washed away. Another half million people lost electricity in other states. Gulf and Franklin counties, which are on the coast, and Holmes County, which is to the north, were all more than 90 percent without power.

"Michael is upon us, it is time to seek refuge". Only the 1935 Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys and Hurricane Camille in 1969 were stronger.

Chattahoochee, where the states largest mental hospital is located, was left "entirely cut off". The facility's evacuees include 39 critical care patients. The Florida National Guard has over 4,000 more Guard members available for deployment, Scott said.

Search teams - working by air, boat and on the ground - have entered Panama City, Mexico Beach, Alligator Point, Eastpoint, St. George Island and Apalachicola. Becker said about 55 people were in the shelters early Thursday. About 375,000 residents were under mandatory or voluntary evacuation.

A Panhandle man was killed by a tree toppling on a home, Gadsden County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Anglie Hightower said.

U.S. emergency organisation The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had scrambled teams ready to act in Florida, said FEMA spokesman Jeff Byard.

Trump previously said he intends to visit affected areas on Sunday or Monday.

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