Six Florida counties remain under curfews, as work crews try to push debris off of roads so utility and emergency crews can start to fix the damage and reach people who need help after one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the U.S.
The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center as of 4 PM CDT shows that Michael has strengthened into a Category 3 major hurricane.
State officials said Mexico Beach was under mandatory evacuation orders but some residents made a decision to stay and try to ride out the storm. Those evacuations stretched across 22 counties from the Florida Panhandle down into north central Florida.
It also brought the dangers of a life-threatening storm surge. The Coast Guard reported rescuing 129 people.
When visibility returned, "we realized everything was gone", Boutwell said, including his neighbor's beach home and auto.
As of noon ET Friday, the storm had left almost 439,000 accounts without power outages in North Carolina, the state's Emergency Management Agency said.
Measured by wind speed Michael was the fourth strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in the United States, and the strongest since 1992.
FEMA head Brock Long acknowledged that evacuation efforts in the area were slow compared with how fast the hurricane intensified. "We thought the windows were going to break at any time", Mr Beu said. "We've got to figure something out". Those numbers are added to almost 345,000 accounts without power in Florida and 150,000 in Georgia. It also was about 200 miles (325 kilometres) south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida. The roar of the winds, he said, sounded like a jet engine.
"Hurricane Michael can not break Florida", Mr Scott vowed. It pushed a wall of seawater inland, causing widespread flooding.
On Thursday, Zee posted this photo of the aftermath in Mexico Beach, writing, "Finally have service and will try to tweet the photos I am able to as I know many of you are desperate to know what's left".
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But some officials were anxious by what they weren't seeing - a rush of evacuees.
"I will not recall you and your families until we can guarantee your safety". Her home is still standing, unlike others.
"It's absolutely horrendous. Catastrophic", Ms Crown said. "They're not there", she said.
"What's happening is search and rescue is trying to get into the rubble to make sure that there's nobody covered up, trying to assess if there's additional casualties there", Long added. "I've got two trees on the roof and a couple of holes on the roof". "I hope we don't see it climb dramatically". "This might be really bad and serious". That included Pensacola Beach but not in Pensacola itself, a city of about 54,000.
About 20 miles (32 kilometres) in from the coast, in Tallahassee, the state capital, people rushed to fill their gas tanks and grab supplies.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida's Democratic nominee for governor, helped people fill sandbags. In the storm's wake lay crushed and flooded buildings, shattered lives and at least 11 deaths that state and local officials have linked to the storm, with authorities investigating another three deaths. Several hours passed before emergency officials could reach the unincorporated area where the girl was killed, county emergency management director Travis Brooks said.
Forecasters said it could bring 3 to 6 inches (7 to 14 centimetres) of rain to Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia, triggering flash flooding in a corner of the country still recovering from Florence.
The hurricane made landfall Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle and then ripped through Georgia - where some schools closed earlier this week - North Carolina and Virginia.
More than 10 feet storm surge was recorded near the eye.
As the storm closed in on the USA, it caused havoc in the Caribbean.
Roofs were peeled away and homes were split open by fallen trees, while more than 380,000 homes and businesses were without power at the height of the storm. They said almost 200 people had been rescued.