But emergency authorities lamented that many people ignored the warnings.
The latest two deaths in North Carolina occurred in McDowell County when a vehicle struck a tree that had fallen across a road, officials said.
"Luckily we did not get a surge", Tenbrunson said of his home.
Michael, so powerful that it remained a hurricane for 12 hours after making landfall in Mexico Beach, thrashed the Carolinas and Virginia and was growing stronger again over the Atlantic, where the National Hurricane Center predicted it would eventually menace Britain with tropical-storm force winds.
Blocks and blocks of homes were demolished, reduced to splintered lumber or mere concrete slabs by the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S.in almost 50 years. Even in areas that have been declared safe, officials are warning residents to drive only in the daytime, when they can see downed power lines and other hazards. Those who surveyed the damage to the towns in Michael's path said the destruction appeared to them to be more like that from a tornado, as building after building had been flattened. Both states face extreme flooding risk and damaging winds before Michael exits into the Atlantic on Friday.
Pecan, cotton, and peanut harvests were at risk as the unsafe storm plowed its way through Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas. Michael's outer bands still could drop up to 3 inches of rain from New Jersey to Long Island to Cape Cod, and up to 5 inches over the MA islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard through Friday afternoon, forecasters said.
"Very few people live to tell what it's like to experience storm surge", Long said.
Five deaths were reported in Virginia, in addition to four in Florida, one in Georgia and one in North Carolina.
A pine tree punched a hole in their roof, and Beu's ears popped because of the drop in barometric pressure from the storm.
When she went back to the hotel where she took shelter from the storm, she found out she could no longer stay there either because of mold. "Can't tell the difference between what I've picked and what I haven't".
"Michael is expected to become a major hurricane later today, and remain a unsafe major hurricane through landfall". "All of my furniture was floating", she said. The emergency call came in on Wednesday afternoon, but responders weren't able to get to the home until early Thursday because "the roads were so messed up", Brooks said.
Among those brought to safety were nine people rescued by helicopter from a bathroom of their home in hard-hit Panama City after their roof collapsed, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald Hodges said.
The parents of an 11-year-old Georgia girl who was killed after being hit in the head by a portable structure that crashed into her grandparents' home say Sarah Radney "lit up everything". It swamped streets, bent trees, stripped away limbs and leaves, knocked out power, shredded awnings and sent other building debris flying.
Three others died in Gadsden County, Hightower said. Authorities said the death toll is likely to rise.
In North Carolina's mountains, motorists had to be rescued from cars trapped by high water.
Mr Nelson told Florida residents: "As I was in the panhandle in Panama City and Tallahassee yesterday".
Linda Clarke gasped repeatedly at the sight of her once new home in Shell Point Beach - now severely damaged.
O Virgin, Star of the Sea, our beloved Mother, we ask you to plead with your Son on our behalf, so that spared from the calamities common to this area and animated with a true spirit of gratitude, we will walk in the footsteps of your Divine Son to reach the heavenly Jerusalem, where a stormless eternity awaits us.
"Raoul. It's just stuff". Much of that area has been dramatically documented already, but the map also shows the greater Panama City area.