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Two people were killed as Tropical Storm Michael moved across Florida and Georgia early Thursday, hours after it made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, the strongest to hit the Florida Panhandle in recorded history.

“The nation has watched as this storm has devastated the Panhandle,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said on Wednesday evening, but he promised: “Hurricane Michael cannot break Florida.”

A man was killed when a tree fell on a residence in Greensboro, Florida, Sgt. Anglie Hightower, a spokeswoman for the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office, told NBC News. And an 11-year-old child was killed near Lake Seminole, Georgia, but the exact circumstances of the death were not yet known, said Travis Brooks, director of emergency management for Seminole County.


Michael weakened to a tropical storm after midnight, but it remained dangerous almost 11 hours after it crossed land as a Category 4 hurricane near Mexico Beach, Florida, about 20 miles southeast of Panama City, at around 1:30 p.m. ET with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph.

At midnight ET, the storm was about 30 miles south-southwest of Macon, Georgia, with life-threatening storm surge and damaging winds of 70 mph, the National Weather Service said. Hurricane warnings for the Gulf Coast of Florida were canceled early Thursday.

The latest on the storm:

  • Michael weakened to a tropical storm, with top sustained winds of 70 mph, and hurricane warnings for the Florida Gulf Coast were canceled.
  • An unidentified man was killed when a tree fell on a home in Gadsden County, Florida.
  • An 11-year-old child was killed in Seminole County, Georgia, but the exact circumstances were not yet known.
  • Almost 326,000 customers in Florida and more than 334,000 others in Georgia and Alabama were without power.
  • More than 375,000 Florida residents were under evacuation orders.

Michael Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, called Michael a “history-making, very devastating storm and one that we’re never going to forget.”

The weather service said the core of Michael would move across southwestern and central Georgia overnight before heading northeastward across the Southeast through late Thursday and then off the Mid-Atlantic coast by early Friday.

“We’ve got a little ways to go with this system,” Graham said on MSNBC. “We’re telling people this isn’t over with.”

Michael was one of the worst storms the Panhandle had ever faced even before it made landfall. As the eye moved over the area, the National Weather Service warned people not to go outside in the “relative calm” because winds would pick up swiftly.


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