Hurricane Michael devastation in Panama City, Florida seen in drone video, photos

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It's very, very scary.

Now known more for its rains than the strength of its winds, Florence caused devastating floods, killed at least 39 and caused about $45 billion in estimated damages.

Roughly 200 miles of Florida, Alabama and Georgia in the path of the storm appear apocalyptic in some areas.

Power lines were knocked down and heavy rains and fierce winds blanketed the area. "We're working diligently to get to everyone as quickly as we can".

Michael was the strongest storm to ever hit the Florida Panhandle, and the only hurricane to do so as a Category 4.

Emily Hindle lies on the floor at an evacuation shelter set up at Rutherford High School, in advance of Hurricane Michael, which is expected to make landfall today, in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

"Satellite images of Michael's evolution on Tuesday night were, in a word, jaw-dropping", wrote Bob Henson, a meteorologist with weather site Weather Underground.

In Panama City, near where Michael came ashore, uprooted trees and downed power lines were strewn everywhere and countless homes were torn asunder.More than 380,000 homes and businesses lost power at the height of the storm.

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Briefing President Donald Trump at the White House, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) chief Brock Long said Michael was the most intense hurricane to strike the Florida Panhandle since 1851.

"Going back through records to 1851 we can't find another Cat 4 in this area, so this is unfortunately a historical and incredibly unsafe and life-threatening situation", he said.

Eastern time. The US Energy Information Administration said about 388,000 customers in Florida, 46,000 customers in Georgia, and 45,000 customers in Alabama were in the dark as the storm moved inland.

"We had roughly 4,000 people spend the night in a Red Cross or partner shelters - we expect that number could rise but now we're just urging people to listen to the local officials - heed those warnings because this is a very, very risky storm".

Accuweather predicted Michael's total damage and economic impact will reach close to $30 billion, which would make it one of the 10 costliest hurricanes in USA history.

But the bigger part of its impact still could be to come, with its progress into the state of Georgia expected to be marked by winds far in excess of 100 miles per hour yet, and tornadoes spawned by the turbulence. "God willing we'll still have some place".

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

Scott held a news conference Wednesday evening and urged people to stay off roads and leave them open to first responders as they begin the work of search and rescue - and recovery. Up to a foot (30 cm) of rainfall was forecast for some areas from Michael. Numerous same counties are also under flash flood warnings.

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