Under a clear blue sky, families living along the Florida Panhandle emerged from shelters and hotels to a perilous landscape of shattered homes and shopping centers, beeping security alarms, wailing sirens and hovering helicopters.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) chief Brock Long said Michael was the most intense hurricane to strike the Florida Panhandle since record keeping began in 1851.
And unless we change the rate of greenhouse gas emissions, we should expect hurricanes to intensify more rapidly in the coming decades, the scientific research group Climate Central said.
"Our hearts are with the thousands who have sustained property damage, in many cases entirely wiped out", Trump said.
Entire blocks of homes near the beach were obliterated, leaving concrete slabs in the sand. Rows and rows of other homes were turned into piles of splintered lumber or were crumpled and slumped at odd angles.
Hurricane Michael has gained strength during its approach toward Florida's Gulf Shore and is expected to make landfall Wednesday afternoon.
Florida officials said that roughly 375,000 people have been urged or ordered to evacuate. But the fast-moving, fast-strengthening storm didn't give people much time to prepare, and emergency authorities lamented that many ignored the warnings and seemed to think they could ride it out. But the fate of many residents was unknown.
Decambre said she had opened her home to a friend who takes care of three elderly women.
Mishelle McPherson climbs over rubble as she searches for her friend in Mexico Beach, Fla.
The NOAA's National Hurricane Centre forecasters said in their 2pm update Michael is churning across the Gulf of Mexico, carrying maximum winds of 110mph.
In Mexico Beach, a seafront town where the hurricane made landfall, houses had been razed by a storm surge, boats had been tossed into yards and the streets were littered with trees and power lines.
"All of my furniture was floating", she said Thursday.
"I know you just want to go home. It was terrible, and now there's just nothing left".
Florida officials said more than 400,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in Florida and Governor Scott said almost 20,000 utility workers had been deployed to restore power.
So far, Coast Guard crews in Florida have rescued 40 people and assisted 232.
Rescue personnel assesses Mexico Beach. Those winds were tearing some buildings apart in Panama City Beach.
At the city's Jinks Middle School, the storm peeled back part of the gym roof and tore off a wall. We thought the windows were going to break at any time. Pine trees were stripped and snapped off about 20 feet (7 meters) high.
In nearby Panama City Beach, Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford reported widespread looting of homes and businesses.
In the video, a member of the Coast Guard is lowered down to the ground.
Yesterday, a spokesperson for the state's emergency services branch of the Department of Public Services said local and state disaster responders have regrouped from Hurricane Florence and are prepared to deal with Michael.
At least seven people were killed by the storm in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina from falling trees and other hurricane-related incidents, according to state officials. She was safe until a carport came crashing through the roof. Michael will move northeast into Georgia, likely arriving in SC around 1 p.m. Thursday before it moves into North Carolina.
As the storm charged north, it spun off possible tornadoes and downed power lines and trees in Georgia.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said 6 inches of rain had fallen in parts of the state, triggering a mudslide in McDowell County, 100 miles west of Charlotte.
In North Carolina's mountains, motorists had to be rescued from cars trapped by high water. It was racing to the northeast at 24 miles per hour (39 kph) amid warnings it could spread damaging winds and more flash flooding in the region before moving offshore.