The strength of Michael may be reflective of the effect climate change has on storms. Michael's wind speed increased by 72 percent in less than 33 hours.
As of 11 a.m. EDT, Michael was centred about 35 miles (60 kilometres) south of Charlotte, North Carolina, with winds of 50 mph (85 kph).
"Today is the day".
LESLIE continues to spin in the central Atlantic where it will stay, as it is now moving farther off to the east.
"Unfortunately, as attractive as the storm is up top, it is deadly down below", Disharoon said. As Michael moves inland, southern Georgia and southeastern Alabama can expect damaging winds, too.
Horrific before and after photos have captured the utter devastation inflicted by Hurricane Michael after it crashed into several small towns on the Florida Panhandle with near-record force.
President Trump has approved Florida's declaration of emergency.
Video shows a meteorologist and the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters flying straight through the eyewall of Hurricane Michael as it was making landfall along the Florida Panhandle. "It looks like another big one".
While there is growing scientific agreement on numerous theories about the effects of climate change on storms, there are also areas where consensus has yet to develop.
The governor activated 750 National Guardsmen for storm response on Monday, on top of the 500 activated the day before. Bill Nelson, said a "wall of water" could cause destruction along the Panhandle.
A reporter and a photojournalist from the Tampa Bay Times ventured to Mexico Beach before dawn Thursday, finding the town of about 1,000 nearly impassable. But the surging seawater could also create perilous problems far from the coast, raising rivers and bays to unsafe levels as it pushes as much as 10 to 15 miles inland. "I would have to say at least as long as it did for Hurricane Andrew, and that took months and months".
"The entire county was "pitch black" and there were no clear roads", he said.
"Storm surge is the No. 1 problem that you can see from these storms".
Travis Brooks, Director of Seminole County's emergency management agency, told ABC News there was "complete and total devastation".
According to Hal Austin, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Newport, Michael is moving through SC as of Thursday morning.
Hundreds of thousands in the state were without power Thursday.
"For North Carolina, Michael isn't as bad as Florence, but it adds unwelcome insult to injury, so we must be on alert", Gov. Roy Cooper said.
"A northward motion is expected through tonight, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday", NHC analysts predicted.
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"We had furniture in our house that wasn't even ours", said Scott Boutwell, explaining, when he returned to his home Thursday, the only belongings he could find was a briefcase. NPR's Emily Sullivan reports state and local governments are preparing for torrential downpours.
Long after landfall, Hurricane Michael's impact was still being felt along the Florida coast and much further inland, and the recovery process is going to be long and hard for those who lost homes and property to Michael's devastating winds and water. "It sounded like 40 jet engines going off". "But first we need your help, your patience and your understanding that before you return we have to make sure things are safe".
Speaking later to reporters, Trump said the hurricane was "incredibly powerful". Downgraded to a tropical storm over south Georgia, it was weakening by the hour. The storm is expected to make landfall by early afternoon.
SCOTT: That means the water will come miles inshore and could easily rise over the roofs of houses.
"Do you think her body would be here?" You can not hide from this storm. You have rain. You have wind.
Although the risk is lower, there will be some severe storms with possible tornadoes for the rest of us.