Hurricane Michael's damage in Mexico Beach, Florida, captured on drone video

Hurricane Michael made its way through the Gulf of Mexico Monday

NOAA RAMMB AFP Getty Images Hurricane Michael made its way through the Gulf of Mexico Monday

Michael, the third most powerful hurricane ever to hit the USA mainland, weakened overnight to a tropical storm but marched northeast on Thursday, toppling trees with 50 miles per hour (80 kph) winds and bringing "life threatening" flash flooding to Georgia and Virginia, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported. By 8am Tuesday, top winds had reached 155kph and it was forecast to strengthen into a "major" hurricane, with winds topping 179kph.

"Unsafe hurricane-force winds will also extend well inland across portions of the Florida Panhandle, southern Georgia, and southeast Alabama as Michael moves inland", the National Hurricane Center said on Wednesday morning. "If they tell you to leave, you have to leave".

In many cases, the maximum wind speed isn't the biggest factor in how deadly or costly a hurricane wound up being. "Don't think that you can ride this out if you're in a low-lying area, " Mr Nelson said on CNN.

The National Hurricane Center further expects tropical storm conditions to spread northward along the southeast USA coast through Friday. Isolated totals could reach nine inches of rain, and the rainfall could "lead to life-threatening flash floods". Only first responders were allowed in and an 8 pm curfew was imposed. As you can see in the video above, some houses are completely submerged.

Michael wasn't quite done wreaking havoc in the Caribbean on Tuesday.

The worst hit areas of Florida's northwest coast saw houses ripped from their foundations, trees felled, and power lines strewn across streets.

Apalachicola, with 2,300 residents, was also badly affected, the mayor reporting that downed cables were making it hard to get through the town. Six people died in Honduras, four in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador.

Six people are dead in the storm's path, and authorities fear the toll could climb higher as search-and-rescue efforts continue. Most of the rain was blamed on a low-pressure system off the Pacific coast, but Michael in the Caribbean could have also contributed.

The Tampa Bay Times is collecting water height data from across the state in real-time. Storm surge is worse now than it was 100 years ago, thanks to the rise in sea levels.

He also warned caregivers at north Florida hospitals and nursing homes to do all possible to assure the safety of the elderly and infirm.

Winds have knocked out power to more than 900,000 homes and businesses across Florida, Alabama, the Carolinas and Georgia.

"If you're responsible for a patient, you're responsible for the patient".

Public health emergency declared in Georgia: The declaration will help ensure those who rely on Medicare and Medicaid have access to the care they need, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said. Many filled sandbags and boarded up homes and lined up to buy gas and groceries before leaving town.

"I m very concerned about our citizens that didn t evacuate and I just hope that, you know, we don t have much loss of life", Scott told ABC. Last year, they welcomed children who were displaced by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. With Michael's winds projected to be even stronger, residents were urged to evacuate inland.

A satellite image of Tropical Storm Michael taken Monday. Her home is still standing, unlike others, she said.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida's Democratic nominee for governor, filled sandbags with residents and urged the state capital's residents to finish emergency preparations quickly.

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