Two, including a child, killed in Hurricane Michael; Florida witnesses 'worst' storm

Aaron in his damaged apartment after Hurricane Michael

Image Aaron Reasonover had to jump to safety from his apartment

Michael's winds also toppled trees and power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands without power and flash flooding also was reported in North Carolina's two largest cities, Charlotte and Raleigh.

Florida officials also said they were moving patients from damaged health care facilities.

Numerous injured in Florida were taken to hard-hit Panama City, 32 km northwest of Mexico Beach. "You want to check on things and begin the recovery process", Scott said. "We worked all night in endangered circumstances". The area is known for its small beach towns, wildlife reserves and the state capital, Tallahassee.

Michael barrelled across the southern USA on Wednesday (Oct. 10), beginning the day as a Category 4 hurricane and rapidly losing wind strength as it traveled.

Downgraded to a tropical storm early Thursday over south Georgia, it continued to weaken overnight but was still menacing the Southeast with heavy rains, blustery winds and possible spinoff tornadoes. Forecasters said it could drop up to 7 inches (18 centimeters) of rain over the Carolinas and Virginia before pushing out to sea in coming hours.

Michael weakened as it crossed rain-soaked Georgia and moved northeast toward SC, the National Hurricane Center said.

The 11-year-old girl and at least five others have been killed since Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle Wednesday and slammed Georgia and the Carolinas through Thursday, officials said.

By early Friday it wasn't almost over yet: a tropical storm long after Wednesday's landfall, Michael stubbornly kept up its punch while barreling over land toward an expected exit across the open Atlantic.

"The wind that came through here was surreal".

Nearby Panama City Beach experienced similar damage along with other communities along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico.

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Home after home was razed from its foundations in the town of around 1,000 people.

An estimated 6,000 people evacuated to emergency shelters, mostly in Florida, and that number was expected to swell to 20,000 across five states by week's end, Kieserman said.

The governors of North and SC urged residents to brace for heavy rain and storm-force winds as Michael plowed northward up the Atlantic seaboard.

"There are so many downed power lines and trees that it's nearly impossible to get through the city", Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson said.

Historic storm:Michael is the third most intense hurricane to hit the continental USA since 1851 based on its low central pressure, CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri said.

People in the crosshairs had to make last-minute preparations for the monstrous storm's arrival - and for how to cope in its aftermath.

Trump issued an emergency declaration for Florida, freeing up federal funds for relief operations and providing the assistance of FEMA, which has more than 3,000 people on the ground.

Governor Scott said his biggest concern is the loss of life, as many are expecting more casualties to be reported as rescue missions push on.

There were moments of glory for Gulf Coast surfers, however, as Florida Panhandlers like Sterling Spencer were able to squeeze in sessions at novelty spots before the storm became an imminent threat.

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