As it came ashore, Michael was just shy of a Category 5 - defined as a storm packing top sustained wind speeds of 157 miles per hour or above.
Michael charged ashore near the small Florida Panhandle town of Mexico Beach as one of the most powerful storms in USA history, with winds of up to 155 miles per hour (250 km per hour).
Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the USA mainland, behind the unnamed Labour Day storm of 1935 and Camille in 1969.
Aerial footage shows coastal cities in the Panhandle, like Mexico Beach, wiped out, CNN said.
The storm was the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental United States in more than 50 years.
Two deaths were blamed on the hurricane - one in Florida and one in Georgia as the storm raced across the neighbouring state, heading to the north-east. While experts had warned it would strengthen early in the week, they did not predict 155-mph winds. Michael caused storm surge of up to 14 ft.More news: Customers asked to limit use of natural gas | Cranbrook, East Kootenay
The scenes were familiar across communities in Florida and Georgia: uprooted trees cracked like toothpicks, buildings with roofs peeled off, homes flattened into an unrecognizable landscape. "You want to check on things and begin the recovery process", Mr Scott said.
Mulligan and her family rode out Hurricane Michael in their Mexico Beach condo.
But judging from the number of homes reduced to "sticks", he said "my sense is they are going to find more victims".
Almost entire blocks of small two-story beach homes were razed to their tile floors, likely by the storm surge.
"We have it very well covered in Florida", President Donald Trump said. The agency also reported 1200 roads hoad been closed and five tornadoes.
U.S. Route 98 runs right along the coast, where a few beachside restaurants offer oysters and other seafood, cocktails and a view of the Gulf of Mexico.More news: Everything you need to know about Princess Eugenie's wedding
Senior said all the patients in the intensive care unit at Bay Medical Sacred Heart had been evacuated and moved to other hospitals with the assistance of ambulances.
"We have a massive flow of search and rescue, Highway Patrol, National Guard, utility workers, pushing their way down to these impacted areas", the governor said.
DAMAGED. Boats are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael on October 11, 2018, in Panama City, Florida.
As it pummeled the Florida panhandle it destroyed thousands of homes and businesses and left hundreds of thousands of residents in Florida and Georgia without power.
Long says, then, the mission shifts to re-opening roads, getting those who lost their homes food and shelter, and restoring a heavily damaged power grid.
Some 375,000 people were ordered to evacuate their homes, but many residents found themselves trapped after they were caught unawares when the storm doubled in strength as it approached land. A year ago saw a slew of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic, including Irma, Maria and Harvey, which caused at least $125 billion (€108.2 billion) in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area. An 11-year-old girl was killed when part of a metal carport crashed into her family's trailer in Lake Seminole and struck her in the head, local officials said.More news: Jamal Khashoggi: Saudi Arabia lets Turkey search consulate