Hurricane Michael tears apart Florida towns, kills 7

Death Toll Rises As Michael Moves Along US Coast

"We've got a massive flow of people going down to coast to try to be helpful", Scott told CBSN's Vladimir Duthiers and Meg Oliver on Thursday.

Rescue crews perform a search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday.

The US Army said more than 2,000 Florida National Guard soldiers were working on the recovery operations.

At least six deaths were blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S.in over 50 years, and it wasn't done yet: Though reduced to a tropical storm, it brought flash flooding to North Carolina and Virginia, soaking areas still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

Much of Port St Joe, 19km east of Mexico Beach, was underwater after Michael hit, snapping boats in two and hurling a large ship onto the shore, residents said.

In Panama City, near where Michael came ashore, uprooted trees and downed power lines were strewn everywhere and countless homes were torn asunder.More than 380,000 homes and businesses lost power at the height of the storm.

CNN's John Berman and Dianne Gallagher report from Panama City Beach, Florida, as Hurricane Michael approaches landfall.

The ultimate effect of Michael will take weeks to assess, but initial reports likened the ravages to that of Hurricane Andrew, which hit south Florida in 1992 causing $25billion in damages and took nearly two years to rebuild from.

Widespread cell tower and internet outages have been reported along the devastating path of Hurricane Michael, according to the Federal Communications Commission's first report following Wednesday's storm.

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In nearby Panama City, Fla., few homes were destroyed but almost all were damaged.

Footage of a Waffle House in Panama City, that was damaged after a large pole fell on top of it during Hurricane Michael.

A day after the storm hit, Mexico Beach remained very hard to reach, with roads covered by fallen trees, power lines and other storm debris.

Roofs were peeled away and sent airborne.

"Our biggest thing is the downed lines and the downed trees", said Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson. Homes were split open by fallen trees. Twisted street signs lay on the ground.

A pine tree broke a hole in their roof and his ears popped when the barometric pressure plummeted.

More than 375 000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were ordered or urged to clear out as Michael closed in. Based on wind speed, it was the fourth-strongest, behind the Labor Day storm 296km/h, Camille and Andrew in 1992.

Michael, the third-most powerful hurricane ever to hit the United States mainland, weakened overnight to a tropical storm and pushed north-east, bringing drenching rains to Georgia and the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence last month.

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