The National Hurricane Center says the core of Michael will move across central and eastern Georgia Thursday morning, and then over southern and central SC later in the day.
Mark Wallheiser via Getty Images Flood waters hit the Cooter Stew Cafe in Saint Marks, Florida, on October 10, 2018, as Hurricane Michael pushes the storm surge up the Wakulla and Saint Marks rivers, which come together in the town.
Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the USA mainland, behind the unnamed Labor Day storm of 1935 and Camille in 1969. That is just two miles an hour shy of Category 5, the strongest on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
As the storm moved northward, it tore through Panama City.
Now a tropical storm, Michael is the most powerful storm ever to hit Florida's Panhandle; senior correspondent Rick Leventhal reports from Panama City Beach.
- High water: storm surge of 6 feet (2 meters) up to 14 feet (4 meters) forecast for Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend. Other parts of the state in the path of the storm have reported storm surges of up to 5 feet.
Waves crash along a pier from hurricane Michael, Oct. 10, 2018, in Panama City Beach, Fla. The core of Michael will move across eastern Georgia into Central South Carolina on Thursday morning.
U.S. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for all of Florida, freeing federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses.
Hurricane slams Florida panhandle, Georgia — WHAT'S HAPPENING
Cameras outside the International Space Station captured video of Michael as the storm continued churning over the Gulf of Mexico. After daylight Thursday residents of north Florida would just be beginning to take stock of the enormity of the disaster.
-Hurricane history: first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Florida's Panhandle since record-keeping began in 1851. The debris was a problem in many coastal communities and still hundreds of thousands of people were also left without power.
Gen, Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said some Florida residents may have been taken by surprise by the rapid escalation of the storm.
Here's a look at Hurricane Michael by the numbers, from its historic impact to its winds to its high tides.
Moving north-northeast at 16 miles per hour, the center of Michael, with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, reached southeastern Alabama and southwest Georgia by 5 p.m.
Benson also posted a clip of the storm's winds picking up a portable toilet and sending it flying across a parking lot.
In some states, like Virginia and North Carolina, it's a misdemeanor to refuse a mandatory evacuation order.
Residents who are still in Florida are being battered by Hurricane Michael, which made landfall Wednesday afternoon. He has covered hurricanes in the state for decades. "This happened so quickly", he said. The hotter an ocean is and the deeper its warm water goes the more intense a hurricane can get, Masters explained.
A year ago saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Harvey, which caused a record-equaling $125 billion in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area.