Bill Nelson, said a "wall of water" could cause destruction along the Panhandle.
While many cities along the Florida Panhandle enjoy the protection of various channel, barrier and tied islands, which can help stifle the impact of storm surge on the mainland, Mexico Beach sits between Crooked Island and the St. Joseph Peninsula, directly on the water.
"Oh my God, what are we seeing?" said evacuee Rachel Franklin, her mouth hanging open.
State officials said 285 people in Mexico Beach had defied a mandatory evacuation order ahead of Michael.
In Paulding County, Georgia, a road was left sliced in two. As of Thursday morning, the storm was centered about 40 miles west-northwest of Columbia, South Carolina, and is headed northeast. "This is one of the most powerful storms". Becker said about 55 people were in the shelters early Thursday.
Hurricane Michael is forecast to be one of the most destructive storms to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades.
- To the rescue: U.S. Coast Guard crews have pulled 27 people from damaged homes along Florida's coastline. Thirty-nine of those patients are in critical care and will be transferred by emergency air services, the hospital said. They're also trying to figure out the extent of damage to roads and bridges.
Florida has declared a state of emergency, as have Alabama and Georgia.
A pine tree punched a hole in their roof, and Beu's ears popped because of the drop in barometric pressure from the storm. One of the carport's legs punctured the roof and hit her in the head. But he said the sheriff told him it looked like a bomb had gone off. But fears lingered that some failed to heed the calls to get out of Michael's way as the hard-charging storm began speeding north over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
On the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, category 4 includes winds of up to 156mph with possible severe damage to even well-built homes and trees being felled. Nadine is moving toward the west-northwest near 9 miles per hour (15 kph), and this motion is expected to continue through tonight.
"Weakening is expected after landfall as Michael moves across the south-eastern United States", the NHC added. But without extensive study, they can not directly link a single weather event to the changing climate.
Hurricane Michael has has devastated Florida, with rows of homes smashed to pieces and flash flooding in hurricane-weary parts of the Carolinas and Virginia.
It was the worst storm to hit the region since the mid-1800s and the first Category 4 hurricane to ever come ashore there on record.
Home after home was razed from its foundations in the town of around 1,000 people. Here is a video of parts of the house, washed to other objects. Refrigerators and toilets and piles of soggy furniture are strewn across properties.
But Miller chose to stay behind and weather the unsafe storm in her two-story, 111-year-old house, which is just 100 yards from the Apalachicola Bay coastline. Another man was shining a flashlight from his balcony as alarms sounded and fires burned.
Stunning before-and-after footage has emerged of Mexico Beach, Florida, which was hammered by Hurricane Michael. "I would have to say at least as long as it did for Hurricane Andrew, and that took months and months".
The storm has weakened but continues to travel over the Carolinas to the Atlantic Ocean, bringing with it heavy rains.
As Michael plows northward up the Atlantic seaboard, the governors of North and SC urged residents to brace for more heavy rain and storm-force winds.
Michael, the 7th hurricane in 2018 in the Atlantic basin.