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Hurricane Michael, the most powerful storm the USA has seen in almost 50 years, is moving through the Florida Panhandle, ripping apart homes and sending walls of water rushing inland.

"There are now 3 ROCA registrants in Tallahassee, Florida, 9 ROCA registrants in Panama City, Florida, 279 ROCA registrants in the state of Georgia, 36 ROCA registrants in the state of Alabama, and 60 ROCA registrants in the state of SC". The hospital said it is running off of generators and patients have been moved to safe areas of the facility. "We worked all night in endangered circumstances".

About 30km south of Mexico Beach, floodwaters were more than 2.3m deep near Apalachicola, a town of about 2,300 residents, hurricane center chief Ken Graham said.

There have been at least two reported deaths in the US since Michael made landfall along the Florida Panhandle Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 hurricane. It's expected to gradually weaken over land. Eastern time. The US Energy Information Administration said about 388,000 customers in Florida, 46,000 customers in Georgia, and 45,000 customers in Alabama were in the dark as the storm moved inland.

As of Thursday, much of the Southeast U.S. was still being hammered by "heavy rains, blustery winds and possible spinoff tornadoes, soaking areas swamped by epic flooding last month from Hurricane Florence", according to The AP.

Michael's minimum central pressure remained at 923 millibars in the most recent National Hurricane advisory as it moved north-northeast at 14 miles per hour.

A day later, the beach town remained hard to reach by land, with roads covered by fallen trees, power lines and other debris.

Long, the head of FEMA, said many Florida buildings were not built to withstand a storm above the strength of a Category 3 hurricane on the 5-level Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

"The wind that came through here was surreal".

Gov. Rick Scott announced afterward that thousands of law enforcement officers, utility crews and search and rescue teams would now go into recovery mode.

An estimated 6,000 people evacuated to emergency shelters, mostly in Florida, and that number was expected to swell to 20,000 across five states by week's end, said Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross.

Violent winds thrashed communities like Panama City and Marianna Florida, while surges of ocean water - pushed into the shore by winds - submerged coastal homes in Mexico Beach, Florida. Wind damage was also evident.

Power lines were knocked down and heavy rains and fierce winds blanketed the area. 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.

Ferocious Hurricane Michael roared ashore east of Panama City with pounding 250kmh winds and a devastating storm surge that flooded beachside towns, shredded roofs, left almost a half-million people powerless in three states and killed at least one person.

Florida governor Rick Scott had warned of "unimaginable devastation" from the approaching menace, and it looked like he was proved right on Thursday morning as the first rescue and fix crews arrived to assess the damage.