Officials shift to search and rescue after devastating Michael

Panama City Florida. The hurricane hit the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm

Hurricane Michael is still a major hurricane as it moves inland to Georgia

Hurricane Michael strengthened overnight into a risky category 4 hurricane, and is headed for Florida - the strongest storm to ever hit the Florida Panhandle.

The Carolinas are still reeling from severe flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence less than a month ago.

There is "one hurricane-related fatality", said Olivia Smith, public information officer for the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners, adding that the incident was "debris-related".

Shredded trees, derailed train cars and a sunken trailer are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Oct. 10, 2018.

According to Florida Power and Light, roughly 400 customers in Columbia County were without power after Michael made landfall, but power was restored within an hour.

A day after the supercharged storm crashed ashore amid white sand beaches, fishing towns and military bases, Michael was no longer a Category 4 monster packing 250 km/h winds.

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It said Michael was now a Category 3 storm with winds abating but still extremely risky at 125 miles per hour (205 kph). That makes Michael the third-strongest hurricane to ever hit the USA and the strongest in almost 50 years.

Michael's minimum central pressure remained at 923 millibars in the most recent National Hurricane advisory as it moved north-northeast at 14 miles per hour. Once that happens, wind speeds increase.

It is expected to move quickly up the US East Coast. She said she could smell the pine from snapped tree branches.

Although Michael had been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane by 8 p.m.

"Northwest Florida has never encountered a storm of this magnitude", Rogers said in a release.

"What you're going to see is a storm moving very rapidly through Georgia, and it will maintain hurricane strength through southwest Georgia and central Georgia as it passes through later today and early tomorrow", a representative for FEMA's told Good Morning America.

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As the Tallahassee office of the National Weather Service said on Twitter earlier Wednesday: "If you're not sheltered in place now, you need to be!"

Marino, who lives with his girlfriend and her grandmother, said water started dripping through the chimney, and they feared the wind would send the tree crashing through the roof.

A restaurant fixture known as "Big Gus" is seen damaged by Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach. According to The Weather Channel, no Category 4 hurricane in historical records dating back to 1851 has ever made landfall in the region.

Widespread power outages are expected to stretch from parts of the Florida panhandle up through Georgia as well as the Carolinas, but anyone within reach of the storm's rapid winds should be prepared to be without power at some point over the next few days.

President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida, freeing up federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses.

As the hurricane moves out of Florida, Scott warned that flash floods and tornadoes are still possibilities and said "the weather is still extremely unsafe".

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