Hurricane Michael ravages rows of Florida beach homes

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Rescuers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) used dogs, drones and Global Positioning System in the search. Both states face extreme flooding risk and damaging winds before Michael exits into the Atlantic on Friday. But emergency authorities lamented that many ignored the warnings.

The National Hurricane Center noted that additional strengthening is forecast through Wednesday, with weakening expected to begin by early Thursday.

DAY TWO: ‘There are no words.

As the storm made its way inland, it caused havoc in Georgia, spinning off possible tornadoes and taking down power lines and trees.

Virginia authorities are providing more details about the death of a firefighter who was responding to a crash north of Richmond as Michael lashed the state.

Mishelle McPherson climbs over rubble as she searches for her friend in Mexico Beach, Fla.

"We had houses that were on one side of the street and now they're on the other", said Mayor Bo Patterson, estimating that 1,000 homes were completely or partially destroyed in his town of 3,500 people.

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. Her father says she loved playing the trumpet, acting and singing.

A man outside Tallahassee, Florida, was killed by a falling tree, and an 11-year-old girl in Georgia died when Michael's winds picked up a carport and dropped it on her home, debris striking her in the head. But the fate of many residents was unknown. The state medical examiner's office has ruled Clark's death among five storm-related fatalities in the state.

All told, more than 900,000 homes and businesses in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas were without power.

Scott urged residents to stay inside so search-and-rescue teams could get through, adding that many roads were impassable anyway.

Thousands of residents in the Florida Panhandle are slowly returning to their homes and discovering that everything or nearly everything they owned has been reduced to rubble.

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Rescue personnel assesses Mexico Beach.

Linda Clarke gasped when she returned to what was once their stately beach house - before Hurricane Michael turned it into heaps of wood and metal.

"We know we have to be ready", Cooper said. "It's just stuff we can replace". Tyndall Air Force Base, across the bay from Panama City, sustained extensive damage, but no injuries were reported there.

Standing in what was once the parish hall of St. Dominic Catholic Church in Panama City, the Rev. Luke Farabaugh spoke of the importance of having gratitude amid the devastation.

"We prepare for the worst and hope for the best". "Our reward isn't just in this life but in the life to come".

"We have thousands of people lined up".

Michael has since been downgraded to a tropical storm as it moves through the Carolinas, which are still recovering from last month's Hurricane Florence.

As Michael pushed northeast, emergency services carried out dozens of rescues of people caught in swiftly moving floodwaters in North Carolina on Thursday.

A water-level station in Apalachicola, close to where Michael came ashore, reported a surge of almost 8 feet (2.5 metres).

"It wasn't going to get this high, realistically. That's not even my recliner", he told CNN's Brooke Baldwin. Others are expected to remain in shelters through the weekend as the rivers levels go down. Michael strengthened to a Category 4 in just a few hours.

And, impressively, Michael's top sustained winds are growing again, to near 65 miles per hour (100 kph) at 5 a.m., with forecasters saying it will grow stronger still.

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.