Michael weakens to tropical storm as it moves across Georgia

People wait for breakfast as they and others seek safety in a shelter as Hurricane Michael approaches Panama City Florida

People wait for breakfast as they and others seek safety in a shelter as Hurricane Michael approaches Panama City Florida

The storm has killed at least two people, including one child, according to reports.

A water-level station in Apalachicola, close to where Michael came ashore, reported a surge of almost 8 feet (2.5 meters).

Panama City after Michael.

Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses are without power in Florida alone, with more in Georgia and Alabama, which have also been badly affected by the storm.

A lot to talk about this morning from rain here returning, a sharp change in our temperatures and hurricane Michael as a category 4 bearing down on Florida! "I didn't expect all this", said Bill Manning, 63, a grocery clerk who left his camper van in Panama City to move into a hotel where the power eventually went out.

Hurricane Michael made landfall in the early hours of October 10, the potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm touching down near Mexico beach, Florida with maximum sustained winds at 155 mph, according to The Weather Channel. It was the most powerful hurricane on record to hit the Panhandle.

He said he could see a 90-foot pine bent at a 45 degree angle and said: "We are catching some hell".

Brock Long, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said many Florida buildings were not built to withstand a storm above the strength of a Category 3 hurricane.

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

General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander of North American Aerospace Defence Command, said some Florida residents may have been surprised by the rapid growth of the storm.

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"We're in trouble. We're in bad trouble, Steven", said storm chaser Brett Adair, with LiveStorms Media, in a video that was being broadcast live on Facebook by NBC 15 in Mobile, Alabama.

At the time, the then-tropical-storm wasn't expected to achieve its current Category 4 status, but now that it's here, it's time to batten down the hatches.

The hurricane was expected to gradually weaken as it passed over the southeastern United States, the hurricane center said. It moved so fast that people didn't have much time to prepare, and emergency authorities lamented that many ignored the warnings and seemed to think they could ride it out.

The National Weather Service office in Tallahassee issued a dramatic appeal for people to comply with evacuation orders.

"Hurricane Michael is an unprecedented event and can not be compared to any of our previous events".

A state of emergency has been declared in several dozen counties along Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend regions.

As the storm continues on a northeast path, it is expected to hit Georgia and the Carolinas, the latter of which is still recovering from the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Florence last month. However, even at a lower category, the storm will pose a major threat.

The storm is also expected to batter North and SC both still recovering from Hurricane Florence, which left dozens dead and caused billions of dollars in damage last month.

Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather, such as storms, droughts, floods and fires.

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