Helicopter Video Captures the Aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida

Aaron in his damaged apartment after Hurricane Michael

Sarah Radney died during Hurricane Michael. The photo was taken by astronaut Dr. Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor.

With a low barometric pressure recorded at 919 millibars, the measure of a hurricane's strength, Michael stood as the most powerful storm ever to hit Florida's Panhandle.

On Thursday, authorities and residents will begin to discover the full extent of Michael's destruction in Florida and Georgia while the Carolinas brace for possible flooding, tornadoes and risky winds in numerous same areas still recovering from Hurricane Florence flooding.

Under a perfectly clear blue sky, Florida families emerged tentatively from darkened shelters and hotels to an unfamiliar and perilous landscape of shattered homes and shopping centers, beeping security alarms, wailing sirens and hovering helicopters.

Gov. Rick Scott said the Panhandle awoke to "unimaginable destruction".

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.

Elmore said the road is closed west of Tallahassee, between mile marker 85 near DeFuniak Springs and mile marker 166 near Lake Seminole.

Michael made landfall as a 155 miles per hour Category 4 storm Wednesday afternoon in Mexico Beach, Florida.

Entire blocks of homes near the beach have been washed away, leaving nothing but concrete slabs in the sand.

Home after home was razed from its foundations in the town of around 1,000 people.

KBW's analysts said that they expect the sector's overall insured losses will be manageable and will have limited impact on property reinsurance pricing at the renewals ahead.

An estimated 375,000 people in more than 20 counties were ordered or advised to evacuate.

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.

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"There were mandatory evacuation orders, but only idiots like us stuck around", said Jordon Tood, 31, a charter boat captain in Port St. Joe.

Mishelle McPherson and her ex-husband searched for the elderly mother of a friend. The home was found smashed, with no sign of the woman. "You know, that's hard", she said, choking back tears. "Do you think it would have floated away?" she asked.

"We'll have to bulldoze and start over", Linda Marquardt, of Mexico Beach, said of her mud-filled home.

Storm surge warnings were in place along the Florida and Alabama coasts. "She's my baby", O'Brien said, her face wet with tears. "It was very bad, and now there's just nothing left".

There were moments of glory for Gulf Coast surfers, however, as Florida Panhandlers like Sterling Spencer were able to squeeze in sessions at novelty spots before the storm became an imminent threat. Roofs had been peeled off.

Kaylee O'Brien was crying as she sorted through the remains of the apartment she shared with three roommates at Whispering Pines apartments, where the smell of broken pine trees was thick in the air.

"You can't drive a auto anywhere, you can't do anything because it's littered with houses, pieces of houses", said Patricia Mulligan, who rode out the storm with her family in a condo in Mexico Beach, a town of mom-and-pop shops and sportfishing businesses about 35 miles southeast of Panama City.

Florida has activated 3,500 National Guard troops. Others were missing roofs or walls. Authorities said that 285 people in the city refused to leave.

In Georgia, an 11-year-old girl died when a vehicle port flipped into the air by a gust of wind landed on her home, Travis Brooks, head of the emergency relief agency in Seminole County, told AFP. When it landed, its legs crashed through the roof of a neighboring mobile home and hit the girl in the head. A driver in North Carolina was killed when a tree fell on his auto.

Death toll rises: At least 2 people were killed in storm-related incidents since Wednesday. Those states could receive 7 to 15 centimeters (3 to 6 inches) of rain. Street flooding was reported in Roanoke and other southwestern Virginia cities that reported motorists caught in flooding had to be rescued.

Damage in Panama City, just west of where Michael came ashore Wednesday afternoon, was so extensive that broken and uprooted trees and downed power lines lay almost everywhere.

"Large parts of Georgia, the Carolinas and southeastern Virginia could still see deadly flash floods on Thursday and remain under a tropical storm warning", it said.

Michael was the first storm of its magnitude to make landfall in the Panhandle since record-keeping there began in 1851.

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