Hurricane Michael, the fiercest storm to hit Florida in more than 80 years and the third-most powerful ever to strike the USA mainland, battered the state's Gulf coast on Wednesday with roof-shredding winds, raging surf and torrential rains.
"We are catching some hell" was how a Panama City Beach resident who chose to ride it out described Michael as it made landfall.
There is "one hurricane-related fatality", Olivia Smith, public information officer for the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners, said.
One man died after a tree fell on his home and local authorities reported the death of a child in Seminola County, Georgia, after Michael progressed into the Southern US state. According to the US Energy Information Administration.
It said Michael was now a Category 3 storm with winds abating but still extremely risky at 125 miles per hour (205 kph).
This makes Michael the third strongest hurricane to hit the continental United States ever on record.
"We are still in the midst of a Category 4 catastrophic and historic storm. We can rebuild your house, but we cannot rebuild your life", Scott said at a press conference Tuesday, warning that "this storm can kill you".
Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm as it raced across Georgia late Wednesday night.
A resident of St. Marks, Fla., rescues a cooler out of the floodwaters near his home on Wednesday.
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Massive power outages are expected in areas of Alabama, where Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide state of emergency. His office said he would tour the devastated areas next week.
In north Florida, Michael battered the shoreline with sideways rain, powerful gusts and crashing waves, swamping streets and docks, flattening trees, shredding awnings and peeling away shingles. It was a relatively calm year except for hurricanes Michael and Florence last month.
National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen added: "We are in new territory".
Pensacola-based Gulf Power estimated that up to 225,000 of its customers could be impacted by the storm that pounded the Panhandle throughout the afternoon and into the evening.
When its eye hit Florida's Gulf Coast on Wednesday afternoon, the storm had sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center, putting it just shy of a Category 5 hurricane.
Michael is continuing to strengthen as its minimum central pressure has dropped to 919 millibars.
The storm, the most severe to hit the Florida Panhandle in a century, brought flash floods, inundating roads and homes.
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". The storm still was spinning in the open waters of the Central Atlantic on Wednesday.
Michael is the strongest hurricane in terms of wind speed to strike the USA mainland since Hurricane Andrew. A pine tree punched a hole in their roof and his ears even popped when the barometric pressure went lower. The most likely cause for such sudden changes?