By 5 a.m., Michael's eye was about 45 miles (72 kilometres) west of Augusta, Georgia, packing top winds of 50 mph (80 kph) and moving at 21 mph (33 kph) into SC, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.
Another storm-related death was confirmed in neighboring Georgia.
Michael also disrupted energy operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico as it approached land, cutting crude oil production by more than 40 percent and natural gas output by almost a third as offshore platforms were evacuated. The National Hurricane Center has hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge warnings for more than 300 miles of coast.
- Roughly a million customers in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and SC lost power. The American Red Cross is on the ground providing safe shelter, relief supplies and more to residents in Florida and surrounding states. Gulf and Franklin counties, which are on the coast, and Holmes County, which is to the north, were all more than 90 percent without power.
A National Guard team got into Mexico Beach and found 20 survivors overnight, and more crews were pushing into the area in the morning, with the fate of many residents unknown, authorities said.
But Michael's quick progress means it won't have a chance to trigger the same widespread, epic flooding as past slow-moving hurricanes such as Florence and Harvey, which unleashed seemingly endless rains after stalling and hovering inland.
Emergency officials said they had done an initial "hasty search" of 80 per cent of the stricken area, looking for the living or the dead. Homes were split open by fallen trees.
Oil traders are advised to keep an eye on the storm updates as the U.S.is undergoing the hurricane season and last year, with hurricane Harvey taking down most of the refining capacity in the Gulf of Mexico last year or one-fifth of national refining capacity, we have seen the impact on Gasoline price, which sharply shot up. Wind damage was also evident.
In Panama City, near where Michael came ashore on Wednesday afternoon, there were uprooted trees and downed power lines.
"Michael" became the first hurricane of the 4th category, coming ashore in Panhandle (FL).
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Florida emergency officials say they're starting to transfer patients out of damaged health care facilities.
Authorities said 285 people in Mexico Beach had refused to leave ahead of the hurricane despite a mandatory evacuation order. He added: "The next thing, houses started floating in front of our home".
While most homes around him are vacation rentals or summer getaways for their owners, Sadousky had stayed put through more than four decades of storms.
Social media users affected by Hurricane Michael were quick to upload the damaged lands they call home.
Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long said he expects to see the death toll rise.
Based on its extremely low central pressure - a key measurement of a hurricane's intensity - Michael was the third-strongest hurricane in USA history. Only Hurricane Camille on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969 and the so-called Labor Day hurricane of 1935 in the Florida Keys were more intense.
President Donald Trump pledged to help storm victims.
Further north, the U.S. Coast Guard set Port Condition Yankee for North Carolina ports, and X-ray for Port of Virginia. Boston-based Karen Clark & Company included privately insured wind and storm surge damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties and vehicles in its number.