WASHINGTON – One of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States has left a path of devastation across Florida, including at least two deaths. Entire rows of houses along the shoreline have been obliterated. Thousands of home have been destroyed from Panama City to Mexico Beach along the Panhandle.
From Florida to Alabama and Georgia to the Carolinas, over 900,000 homes and businesses have lost electricity.
Hurricane Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm early Thursday morning after smashing into the Sunshine State with 155 mile-an-hour winds, nearly a Category 5 storm, leaving a path of massive destruction as it shredded a path across the Panhandle.
"It's absolutely horrendous. Catastrophic," Florida resident Sally Crown said. "There's flooding. Boats on the highway. A house on the highway. Houses that have been there forever are just shattered."
"This morning, Florida's Gulf Coast and Panhandle and the Big Bend are waking up to unimaginable destruction," Gov. Rick Scott said. "So many lives have been changed forever. So many families have lost everything. ... This hurricane was an absolute monster."
So far, two deaths have been confirmed: one in Florida and another in Georgia where trees came crashing down on both victims.
Michael is the third strongest hurricane to ever hit the US mainland and the strongest to impact the Florida Panhandle.
At one point nearly 400,000 people spread out across Florida, Alabama and Georgia were without power.
In Florida, efforts are now focused on saving those still in danger. The Coast Guard said it rescued at least 27 people, and the National Guard rescued 20 people who survived the direct hit on Mexico Beach.
"As Hurricane Michael continues its destructive path through the Panhandle and leaves our state, we're turning 100 percent of our effort on search and rescue and recovery," Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in a press conference.
Michael was also top of mind for President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania.
"I want to send our thoughts and prayers of our entire nation to everyone in the path of Hurricane Michael, especially in the Florida Panhandle where it's hitting and hitting hard," Trump told the crowd.
As Michael moves on to the Carolinas, there are serious concerns about deadly tornados and more flooding following Hurricane Florence.
CBN's Operation Blessing is on the ground preparing to bring relief to the victims.