Updates, tracking resources as storm makes landfall

Hurricane Michael threatens Florida with 150mph winds - Live

It is expected to move quickly up the US East Coast.

By 8pm, Michael was weakened to category-1 storm, with wind gusts reaching 90mph (144kph), the National Hurricane Center reported.

Michael had weakened to a Category 1, with maximum winds of 90 miles per hour as of 8:00 pm Eastern time (0000 GMT), but that still left it an extremely unsafe storm.

"My God, it's scary. I know that there's a lot of bad stuff that happened out there on the Panhandle, but I think that we were very fortunate here", Lake City resident Tyler Flanagan said.

Bill Manning, a 63-year-old supermarket employee, fled his camper van in Panama City for safer quarters in a hotel only to see the electricity there go out.

A restaurant fixture known as "Big Gus" is seen damaged by Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach. The Carolinas, still recovering following Hurricane Florence, could see heavy rain, potentially causing flooding.

"I felt like the odds are in our favor", Reynolds said. You are not going to survive it.

The storm continued on its destructive path, bringing heavy rains and tearing down trees.

Patterson said about 2,500 of the town's 3,500 people were still there, including about 100 in a beachside area who ignored a mandatory evacuation order.

Just a few days before it made landfall Wednesday afternoon near the Florida Panhandles Mexico Beach, the storm was a loosely organized system just north of Honduras.

Michael gained sudden force Tuesday night as it churned over the Gulf of Mexico.

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After carving an agonizing path of destruction across the Florida Panhandle, Georgia and southeastern Alabama for almost 10 hours, Hurricane Michael finally slowed to a tropical storm at midnight and continued to weaken early Thursday. "The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no Category 4 hurricane ever hitting the Florida Panhandle".

As of the 5 p.m. advisory, Michael is an extremely risky Category 3 storm.

But Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross said on Wednesday as many as 320,000 people on Florida's Gulf Coast had disregarded evacuation notices.

Trump issued an emergency declaration for Florida, freeing up federal funds for relief operations and providing the assistance of FEMA, which has more than 3,000 people on the ground.

More than 311,000 homes and businesses in Florida, Georgia and Alabama have also been left without power, according to local power companies. It was the strongest storm to hit the continental U.S. since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

"On the forecast track, the core of Michael will move across southeastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia through this evening", the NHC 5 p.m. advisory read.

Michael was positioned 65 miles from Panama City, moving north at 13 mph.

"We basically just walked away from everything and said goodbye to it", he said, tears welling up. "We're kind of nervous".

About 2,500 National Guard troops were deployed to assist with evacuations and storm preparations, and more than 4,000 others were on standby.

Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 miles per hour Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods. Up to a foot (30 cm) of rain was forecast in Florida.

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