ABC News' Ginger Zee said she saw an "entire home, a well-built home, rolling down the street". There's no water, no power and emergency officials have no access to many towns from the Florida Panhandle to Virginia. "I have been up since 3:30 or 4 a.m. emailing and checking on staff to see if they are safe".
By the following day, the storm had its name - and by Monday, the center was sounding the alarm about Michael's potential impacts on the United States. Authorities did not discuss the circumstances of their deaths but their bodies have been taken to the medical examiner's office to determine the cause of death. The truck driver had to be extricated and also suffered serious injuries.
Department of Emergency Management spokesman Jeff Caldwell told The Associated Press on Friday that four people drowned: three in the western part of the state and a fourth in central Virginia.
Gov. Rick Scott said the Panhandle awoke to "unimaginable destruction".
Tyndall Air Force Base "took a beating", so much so that Col. Brian Laidlaw told the 3,600 men and women stationed on the base not to come back. Hanson asked. "This city is destroyed".
Beaufort County was relatively unaffected by Hurricane Michael, which hit the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm and caused devastation for some as far north as Virginia. Videos of the damaged base show roofs ripped off hangars and a fighter jet on display toppled onto the ground. That could change, as efforts to assess damage and look for casualties in the worst-hit communities have been hampered by downed utility lines, trees and debris blocking roads.
Early Friday, in "Post-Tropical Cyclone Michael Advisory Number 23", the National Hurricane Center wrote that Michael had moved away from the United States, and that "all coastal tropical cyclone warnings and watches are discontinued".
Sharon Black, who lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, anxious that Michael's winds would blow away debris still piled up on front lawns from Florence. Flooding rains of 10 to 20 centimetres, with hurricane force winds and storm surge of up to 3½ metres are in the forecast for the region.
The Hurricane Center says threats to land are diminishing. Flashing flooding also was reported in the big North Carolina cities of Charlotte and Raleigh.
"I've never seen anything like this craziness", said Tamara's Cafe owner Danny Itzkovitz, 54, as he was busy grilling burgers. County officials say they're not releasing names or other details yet while families are notified.
Aluminium siding was shredded and homes were split by fallen trees. Michael flooded homes, tore roofs off and sank boats.
In North Carolina's mountains, motorists had to be rescued Thursday from cars trapped by high water.
The full extent of Michael's fury was only slowly becoming clear, with some of the hardest-hit areas difficult to reach with roads blocked by debris or water.
Now their home is full of mud and everywhere they look there is utter devastation in their Florida Panhandle community, with roofs lifted off of buildings and pine trees snapped in 155 miles per hour winds.
Both Florence and Michael hit at a time when low commodity prices and retaliatory tariffs from President Trump's trade war threaten the livelihoods of even the most prosperous farmers.
Linda Marquardt rode out Hurricane Michael with her husband at their home in Mexico Beach. A pine tree punched a hole in their roof and he said the roar of the storm sounded like a jet engine as the winds accelerated.
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