Tropical Storm Michael took its drenching rains to Georgia and the Carolinas on Thursday after battering Florida's Panhandle as the third most powerful hurricane ever to strike the U.S. mainland and killing at least two people.
Many homes were ripped apart or washed away altogether in Mexico Beach, a town of 1,000 where the hurricane made landfall and the storm surge pushed lead-grey water up to the rooftops. A National Ocean Service water level station at Apalachicola recently reported almost 6.5 feet of inundation above ground level.
The Coast Guard said it rescued at least 27 people before and after the hurricane came ashore, mostly from homes along the Florida coastline, and searched for more victims. The core of Michael will move across eastern Georgia into Central South Carolina on Thursday morning.
People walk past damaged stores after hurricane Michael passed through the downtown area of Panama City in Florida.
Diane Farris, 57, and her son walked to a high school-turned-shelter near their home in Panama City to find about 1,100 people crammed into a space meant for about half as many.
Even as Michael moved farther inland, it continued to pack maximum sustained winds of up to 225kmh and has a well-defined eye.
The storm could drive sea water levels as high as 4.3 metres above normal in some areas, the National Hurricane Centre said.
After ramping up in intensity with maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, Category 4 Hurricane Michael was zeroing in on landfall in an area now being pinpointed between St. Vincent Island and Panama City.
The Carolinas are bracing for possible flooding, tornadoes and unsafe winds in numerous same areas still recovering from Hurricane Florence flooding.
"Panama City, I don't know if there will be much left", he added.
Its sustained winds were just 3.2km/h shy of an extremely rare Category 5.
Michael was a monster storm by wind speed around the time it made landfall.
It was a category two hurricane by Tuesday, and a borderline category five on Wednesday morning, packing 155mph winds.
Forecasts projected that Hurricane Michael would continue on a northeast path through Georgia before spinning back into the Atlantic Ocean.
The rain is pounding and the wind is whipping outside Judy Brown's apartment in Tallahassee. It quickly buckled under the pressure of the storm.
The calculation changes if you take into account Puerto Rico, the U.S. island territory in the Caribbean that was devastated by Hurricane Maria a year ago.
Though the storm has weakened, it is continuing on a risky path across the southeast states.
State officials issued disaster declarations in Alabama and Georgia and the storm is also expected to bring heavy rainfall to North and SC.
Cook grew up in the Florida Gulf Coast and says that it holds a special place in his heart. It also was an October icon - the strongest continental United States hurricane to make an October landfall based on maximum sustained winds at 155 miles per hour. It'll dry out for the Sox game in time and be dry again Sunday.