"It was very bad, and now there's just nothing left".
Surging water filled their first floor, now muddy and ruined.
Now their home is full of mud and everywhere they look there is utter devastation in their Florida Panhandle community, with roofs lifted off of buildings and pine trees snapped in 155 miles per hour winds. "All of my furniture was floating", she said.
Michael charged ashore near the small Florida Panhandle town of Mexico Beach as one of the most powerful storms in USA history, with winds of up to 155 miles per hour (250 km per hour). Forecasters say the storm has already begun shedding its tropical characteristics but will take on a new chapter as a powerful extratropical storm with gale force winds on its trek out to sea.
In North Carolina's mountains, motorists had to be rescued from cars trapped by high water. "Non-tropical high wind watches, warnings, and advisories have been issued by local NWS offices for wind hazards in these areas north of Duck, North Carolina". Others include Jonathan Drew in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Maryland.
Across the Florida Panhandle, shell-shocked residents returned home to devastation after Michael's fury, with similar scenes played out in several neighborhoods.
Families living along the Panhandle are now faced with a struggle to survive in a perilous landscape of shattered homes and shopping centres.
First responders and residents walk amid debris and destroyed homes October 11 after Hurricane Michael swept through Mexico Beach, Fla. Downed power lines and twisted street signs lay all around.
Sweet was killed in Gadsden County, Florida, near the state border with Georgia, when a tree fell into his home. We thought the windows were going to break at any time.
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Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center treated some people but the hospital evacuated 130 patients as it was dealing with its own hurricane effects.
And unless we change the rate of greenhouse gas emissions, we should expect hurricanes to intensify more rapidly in the coming decades, the scientific research group Climate Central said.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott took an aerial tour of some impacted areas on Thursday and, hours later, tweeted that he and his wife, Ann, were sheltering 50 Florida Highway Patrol officers in the governor's mansion.
And Michael also was deadly, both in Florida and beyond.
So far, counties along the affected northwest Florida coast have reported no deaths related to the storm. Michael flooded homes, tore roofs off and sank boats. A driver in North Carolina was killed when a tree fell on his auto.
Although weaker as it pushed over the southeastern United States, it carried high winds and delivered drenching rains to Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.
Some fear the toll can only rise as rescue teams get around storm debris blocking roads and reach isolated areas.
More than a million people are without electricity, and areas along the Gulf Coast and elsewhere report severe outages of cellphone service and other communications.
The number of dead was expected to rise, but authorities scrapped plans for setting up a temporary morgue, indicating they had yet to see signs of mass casualties from the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S.in almost 50 years.
Aja Kemp, 36, planned to stay in her mobile home in Crawfordville.
Florida state officials said 285 people in Mexico Beach had defied a mandatory evacuation order ahead of Michael.