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Michael charges into Southeast after slamming north Florida

Updated: 2018-10-11 15:00
Palm trees are seen during a Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida, US, October 10, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. [Photo/Agencies]

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — The most powerful hurricane on record to hit Florida's Panhandle left wide destruction and at least two people dead and wasn't nearly finished Thursday as it crossed Georgia, now as a tropical storm, toward the Carolinas, that are still reeling from epic flooding by Hurricane Florence.

A day after the supercharged storm crashed ashore amid white sand beaches, fishing towns and military bases, Michael was no longer a Category 4 monster packing 155 mph (250 kph) winds. As the tropical storm continued to weaken it was still menacing the Southeast with heavy rains, blustery winds and possible spinoff tornadoes.

Authorities said at least two people have died, a man killed by a tree falling on a Panhandle home and according to WMAZ-TV, an 11-year-old girl was also killed by a tree falling on a home in southwest Georgia. Search and rescue crews were expected to escalate efforts to reach hardest-hit areas and check for anyone trapped or injured in the storm debris.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the eye of Michael was about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Macon in central Georgia at 2:00 am Thursday. The storm had top sustained winds of 60 mph (96 kph) and was moving to the northeast at 20 mph (32 kph).

After daylight Thursday residents of north Florida would just be beginning to take stock of the enormity of the disaster.

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