Hurricane Michael weakens to tropical storm as it crosses Georgia

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Members of City Miami Fire Rescue look for victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida. The powerful Category 4 storm caused widespread damage as it tore through parts of the Panhandle and Big Bend.

More than 900,000 homes and businesses were without power in Florida, Alabama, the Carolinas and Georgia on Thursday. KCC said that almost half of the losses occurred in place in Florida's Bay and Gulf counties.

Mr Ken Graham, director of the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre, said the hurricane was "unfortunately, a historical and incredibly unsafe and life-threatening situation". More than 850,000 customers remained without power Thursday morning in Florida and Georgia, where Michael, since downgraded to a tropical storm, was moving across on its way to the Carolinas.

Vehicles sit parked on a bridge while drivers try to reach a phone signal on Highway 71 near Port St. Joe, Fla., Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, after Hurricane Michael went through the area on Wednesday.

The agency is working with the Florida Department of Transportation to clear the interstate which is the major east-west route across northern Florida and the Panhandle.

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).

More than 1 million people were left without electricity, and emergency officials have no access to many towns, CNN reported on Saturday.

Michael, the third most powerful hurricane ever to hit the USA mainland, weakened overnight to a tropical storm and pushed northeast on Thursday, bringing drenching rains to Georgia and the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence last month. The town was under a mandatory evacuation order as the rapidly developing storm closed in, but some people were determined to ride it out.

Home after home was razed from its foundations in the town of around 1,000 people, leaving just bare concrete slabs.

"I know, but we can rebuild it", a FEMA rescuer said, putting his arm around her.

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Mexico Beach, Fla., as seen from a helicopter chartered by CNN on Thursday morning.

New aerial maps of the Florida panhandle are giving the first glimpse of the miles and miles of damage to the communities battered by Hurricane Michael.

Authorities said a falling tree killed a man outside Tallahassee, Florida, and an 11-year-old girl in Georgia was killed when the wind picked up a carport and dropped it on her home.

After Michael cut a destructive path through Panama City, hundreds of utility crews responded, ready to restore power.

Many residents with destroyed or damaged homes counted themselves lucky to have survived. The rubble piles and mangled structures, mixed with downed power lines and trees, are expected to complicate recovery efforts.

When they pulled up, ripped shingles, mangled cars and twisted street signs were scattered everywhere. Pine trees were stripped and snapped off about 6 meters high.

Just about every update seemed to bring greater grimness: closed bridges, more towering waves, suspended emergency services, admonitions that the time to evacuate had passed. But it moved fast and intensified quickly, and emergency authorities lamented that many people ignored the warnings.

Leaders in our nation's capital say they're just beginning to understand Hurricane Michael's devastation.

With a low barometric pressure recorded at 919 millibars, the measure of a hurricane's force, Michael ranked as the third strongest storm on record to hit the continental United States, behind only Hurricane Camille on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969 and the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 in the Florida Keys.

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