Photos and videos show mass destruction from 'Monstrous' Michael in Florida

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Interested in Hurricane Michael?

"So we started looking actually Sunday night at the weather, and they started talking about Michael is now a hurricane and may intensify, so we paid a little more attention to it", Eades said.

That's southeast of Panama City.

The National Hurricane Center said Michael would pass through the Carolinas as a tropical storm on Thursday, dumping as much as 8 inches of rain in some areas.

The moment was captured on ABC News' live video, and it was also widely shared on social media, where many questioned the fate of the four-legged storm victims.

Michael ploughed into Florida's Panhandle coast on Wednesday, one of the strongest storms to ever hit the USA mainland.

Now a Category 1 storm with winds up to 90 miles per hour, the storm is moving into extreme southeastern Alabama and southwest Georgia, bringing life-threatening storm surge and catastrophic winds.

He was one of about 2,500 of the town's 3,500 residents who ended up staying put, many of them caught off guard by the storm's rapid escalation as it approached.

The number of people in emergency shelters was expected to swell to 20,000 across five states by Friday, said Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross.

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By Wednesday night, more than 403,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, utility companies said. Forecasters said it will unleash damaging wind and rain all the way into the Carolinas, still recovering from Hurricane Florence's epic flooding.

Colorado State University hurricane expert Phil Klotzbach said in an email: "I really fear for what things are going to look like there tomorrow at this time".

Michael's strength may reflect the effect of climate change on storms. Just as Northern politicians are judged on how they handle snowstorms, their Southern counterparts are watched closely for how they deal with hurricanes.

Florida Governor Rick Scott told the Weather Channel the damage from Panama City down to Mexico Beach was "way worse than anybody ever anticipated".

The base's aircraft, which include F-22 Raptors, were flown hundreds of miles away as a precaution. Up to a foot (30 cm) of rain was forecast in Florida.

The Florida man was killed when a tree crashed through his home in Greensboro and trapped him, according to Gadsden County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Anglie Hightower.

Retired Franklin County administrator Alan Pierce warned that highways could experience storm surge because "most of [them are] within 100 feet of the coast".

In St. Marks, John Hargan and his family gathered up their pets and moved to a raised building constructed to withstand a Category 5 after water from the St. Marks River began surrounding their home.

"We basically just walked away from everything and said goodbye to it", he said, tears welling up. "I'm freakin' scared I'm going to lose everything I own, man".

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