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Hurricane Michael was a Category 4 storm with 155 miles per hour winds when it made landfall at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday near Mexico Beach on Florida's Panhandle.

"Dawn in Panama City, Florida, revealed a sprawling mess of nearly unimaginable devastation wrought by the third-most powerful hurricane in recorded history to lash the US mainland", as Fox News reported.

The coastal city of Apalachicola reported a storm surge of almost 8ft (2.5m).

Roads were filled with piles of floating debris.

Looking at the entire hurricane season, Michael had the strongest winds since 1992 and Hurricane Andrew.

The storm came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson wind scale. "There was a tree involved".

"It didn't give anyone time to do much", Kieserman said, referring to the storm.

Smith, in Gadsden County, said the situation was unsafe even for emergency personnel.

Pine trees litter a backyard in Florida.

In terms of damage the most costly year was 2017, when besides the Caribbean several USA coastal states were hit by powerful hurricanes that moved slowly and dumped record rainful for days.

"Water will come miles in shore and could easily rise over the roofs of houses", he said.

The injured in Florida were taken to hospitals in Tallahassee, with some hurt after the storm by breaking tree limbs and falls, said Allison Castillo, director of emergency services at the city's Capital Regional Medical Centre.

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The hurricane is forecast to hit the Florida Panhandle at a possible category 4 storm.

At a midterm election rally in Pennsylvania on Wednesday night, Trump offered his "thoughts and prayers" to those in the path of the storm and said he would be visiting Florida soon.

"I'm urging residents of impacted areas to continue to stay off the roads and listen to your local authorities so that our first responders and utility crews can do their jobs", Gov. Rick Scott tweeted Thursday.

Sgt. Angela Hightower did not identify the man but said he had been found at the home in Greensboro around 6 p.m.

"It's absolutely horrendous. Catastrophic", Florida resident Sally Crown said.

The storm moved fast and many people didn't have time to evacuate as the the tropical depression formed over the weekend and strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane on Tuesday.

"It looks like a war zone", said B. Cody Shields, a 31-year-old who rode out the storm in his parents' Panama City home, not far from where Michael's center made landfall.

"Canadians now in the affected areas exercise caution, monitor local news and weather reports and follow instructions.including evacuation orders". "We haven't seen as robust of an evacuation response from the civilian population that we have seen in other storms".

As predicted, the storm was downgraded hours later to a still-formidable Category 3 with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kph) and higher gusts as it pushed inland to the Alabama-Georgia border. Her power is gone and the full force the hurricane is about to hit.

Florida Governor Rick Scott promised a strong relief effort from his administration Thursday after the state was slammed by Hurricane Michael, the most powerful storm to hit the USA mainland in 50 years.

It forced more than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast to evacuate as it gained strength quickly while crossing the eastern Gulf of Mexico toward north Florida.

Schools and state offices in the area are to remain shut this week.