(RNN) - Hurricane Michael, one of the most-intense storms to ever hit the United States, roared ashore early Wednesday afternoon along the Florida Panhandle with 155 mph winds, just two miles per hour shy of Category 5 status.

It was downgraded to a tropical storm early Thursday. It continues to weaken as it moves across south-central Georgia. Flooding is also gradually decreasing along the Gulf Coast, as of 11 p.m. ET Wednesday.

But it continues cutting a path of destruction, bringing heavy rains and damaging winds. It entered Georgia as a Category 3 storm, the first to track into the state in over a century.

Michael is the strongest hurricane to strike the Florida Panhandle on record, and the strongest storm to make landfall in the continental United States since Hurricane Andrew, which struck in 1992.

The death of a child in Seminole County, GA was reported late Wednesday. While officials were not sure how the child had died, they did say it was associated with the storm, according to WALB.

Another death was reported near Greensboro, FL, on Wednesday. The Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office said a man died after a tree fell on a home there, CNN reported.

Nearly 6,700 Floridians are weathering the storm in the 54 shelters set up in the state. Nine Florida counties have enacted curfews to keep people off dangerous roads.

Officials are urging those still in affected areas to avoid getting on the roads and to stay safe indoors.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said 3,500 soldiers and airmen have been activated for high water search and rescue operations. Nearly 1,000 Florida law enforcement officers are also ready to deploy to impacted areas.

Around 11 p.m., more than 327,000 power outages had been reported in Florida.

More than 114,000 people were without electricity in Georgia. More than 62,000 customers had lost power in Alabama.

Heavy rainfall from Michael is causing life-threatening flash flooding from the Panhandle to the Big Bend region of Florida. It could bring life-threatening floods to parts of southeast Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and southeast Virginia.

A tornado watch has been issued for nearly all of Georgia south of Athens, and for north Florida from Tallahassee to Jacksonville, through 2 a.m. ET Thursday.

The National Hurricane Center, along with local officials in impacted areas, are warning residents not to leave their homes, and especially not to venture out into the eye of the storm as it passes.

“The storm is here. It’s not safe to travel across the Panhandle," Gov. Scott said Wednesday. "If you are in a coastal area, do not leave your house. The time to evacuate has come and gone.”

“If you made the choice to stay, seek refuge," he said. "The worst thing you could do is put your family in danger.”

Wednesday night, Scott tweeted: “If you live in impacted coastal communities, DO NOT TRY TO COME HOME TONIGHT. The roads are not clear.”

Scott urged Floridians to stay off the roads in impacted areas so rescue teams could “do their jobs and save lives.” Wednesday night, Scott tweeted that first responders were headed onto those roads to help people affected by the hurricane.

The City of Tallahassee said Wednesday night that “there are in excess of 200 roads blocked by trees,” in the area. The city urged residents to stay sheltered to allow crews “to safely and efficiently assess damage and begin the process of recovery.”

As of 9 p.m., city officials hadn’t received any reports of significant injury.

Earlier Wednesday, Scott tweeted that the state government is “prepared to deploy 1 million gallons of water, 1.5. million Meals Ready-to-Eat and 400,000 pounds of ice to help our families being impacted by the storm."

The Salvation Army also announced they’re sending a mobile feeding kitchen to Panama City to serve the people impacted by the hurricane.

In Wednesday afternoon Facebook Live broadcasts, the director of the NHC, Ken Graham, called Michael “extremely dangerous.”

He warned of downed trees and power outages as the hurricane moves through southwest Georgia and into the middle of the state Wednesday evening.

Graham also warned of heavy rains moving through Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia, which could bring the risk of flash flooding.

Strong storm surges are continuing along the Florida coast for miles inland. Graham said it could take some time for the waters to subside after the winds calm.

Because of flooding, debris and downed power lines, the NHC cautions those in the storm path not to venture outside, especially after nightfall.

On Wednesday evening, tropical-storm force winds were extending outward of 160 miles from the storm center. Hurricane-force winds were extending up to 40 miles from the center.

In its 11 p.m. ET update Wednesday, the NHC said the storm was weakening as it moved across south-central Georgia, continuing to bring damaging winds and a life-threatening storm surge to the Panhandle and catastrophic winds to rural Georgia.

The storm surge levels on the Gulf Coast, however, have begun gradually subsiding, and will continue decreasing along the Florida Panhandle overnight. Winds are also gradually decreasing over the Panhandle, though they’re starting to increase along the Georgia coast.

Michael is about 30 miles south-southwest of Macon, GA, moving northeast at 17 mph, packing maximum-sustained winds of 70 mph.

At 4 p.m. ET, the NHC repeated its warning for everyone in the storm’s path “not to venture out into the relative calm of the eye, as hazardous winds will increase very quickly as the eye passes!"

The NHC called Michael “potentially catastrophic.”

One catastrophic storm in recent memory, Hurricane Katrina, made its second landfall in 2005 as a Category 3 (sustained winds of 125 mph) storm, devastating the Mississippi Gulf Coast and southeast Louisiana, in particular catastrophically flooding New Orleans.

Just a few weeks ago, Hurricane Florence made landfall on Sept. 14 near Wrightsville Beach, NC. The storm had maximum-sustained winds of 90 mph, the NHC said.

Officials worry the storm surge along the Panhandle could be deadly, reaching 14 feet in some areas.

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee had issued extreme wind warnings for parts the Panhandle throughout the day, likening it to a tornado warning.

“Treat these imminent extreme winds as if a tornado was approaching and move immediately to an interior room or shelter,” the NWS warned.

Resident Tony Feller, who stayed in Mexico Beach, Fla., during Hurricane Michael, sits in a chair amidst the destruction, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)In this image made from video and provided by SevereStudios.com, damage from Hurricane Michael is seen in Mexico Beach, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Search-and-rescue teams fanned out across the Florida Panhandle to reach trapped people in Michael's wake Thursday as daylight yielded scenes of rows upon rows of houses smashed to pieces by the third-most powerful hurricane on record to hit the continental U.S. (SevereStudios.com via AP)An American flag flies amidst destruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)Haley Nelson inspects damages to her family properties in the Panama City, Fla., spring field area after Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida's Panhandle on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 mph Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods before continuing its march inland. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP)Debris blocks U.S. Highway 98 in the Florida Panhandle in the wake of Hurricane Michael. (Source: WAWS/WFOX/WJAX/CNN)Pine trees lean into the roadway of Route 388 in Panama City, FL. (Source: CNN)Mexico Beach, FL, the site of Hurricane Michael's landfall, took the brunt of the wind damage from the powerful Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday.In this image made from video and provided by SevereStudios.com, damage from Hurricane Michael is seen in Mexico Beach, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Search-and-rescue teams fanned out across the Florida Panhandle to reach trapped people in Michael's wake Thursday as daylight yielded scenes of rows upon rows of houses smashed to pieces by the third-most powerful hurricane on record to hit the continental U.S. (SevereStudios.com via AP)Firefighter Austin Schlarb performs a door to door search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)Rescue personnel perform a search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)Rescue personnel perform a search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)A vehicle sits under a fallen tree where an occupant was trapped due to tropical storm winds brought by Hurricane Michael, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Atlanta. Firefighters rescued the woman and she was transported to a hospital. (John Spink/The Atlanta Journal and Constitution via AP)Joyce Fox, center stands in front of her heavily damaged home in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)A before-and-after shot shows the extensive damage to Pirates Cove Marina in Panama City Beach, FL, after Hurricane Michael tore through.People cut away a tree that'll on a vehicle in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018A sailboat was thrown onto dry land by Hurricane Michael's huge waves and storm surge in Apalachicola, FL. (Source: CNN)The power of Hurricane Michael threw a sailboat into a neighborhood in Apalachicola, FL. Source: CNN)A trailer leans against palm trees in Apalachicola, FL, after powerful Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday.Debris scatters an area in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., early Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP)Shredded trees, derailed train cars and a sunken trailer are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)Derailed box cars are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)Derailed box cars are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)Hurricane Michael formed off the coast of Cuba carrying major Category 4 landfall in the Florida Panhandle. Surge in the Big Bend area, along with catastrophic winds at 155mph. Storm surge floods 20th St in Port St. Joe, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, after Hurricane Michael makes landfall in the Florida Panhandle. (Douglas R. Clifford/The Tampa Bay Times via AP)Hurricane Michael formed off the coast of Cuba carrying major Category 4 landfall in the Florida Panhandle. Surge in the Big Bend area, along with catastrophic winds at 155mph. The First Baptist Church of Port St Joe, Fla., was significantly damaged and water remains on the street near the church on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle (Douglas R. Clifford/The Tampa Bay Times via AP)People walk through downed trees in a heavily damaged neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 mph Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)People walk amidst destruction on the main street of Mexico Beach, Fla., in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)Dorian Carter looks under furniture for a missing cat after several trees fell on their home during Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 mph Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)A man walks in the street of his heavily damaged neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 mph Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)Kaylee O'Brian cries as she's unable to find her cat after several trees fell on her now-destroyed home during Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)This photo shows a McDonald's restaurant damaged after Hurricane Michael went through the area in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 mph Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods before continuing its march inland. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP)Brian Bon inspects damages in the Panama City downtown area after Hurricane Michael made landfall in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 mph Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods before continuing its march inland. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP)Storm Surge retreats from inland areas, foreground, where boats lay sunk and damaged at the Port St. Joe Marina, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 in Port St. Joe, Fla. Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 mph Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP)Boats lay sunk and damaged at the Port St. Joe Marina, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 in Port St. Joe, Fla. Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 mph Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP)Port St. Joe Lodge No. 111 lay in ruins after Hurricane Michael made landfall, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 in Port St. Joe, Fla. Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 mph Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP)A marina warehouse is damaged at the Port St. Joe Marina, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 in Port St. Joe, Fla. Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 mph Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP)Kaylee O'Brian weeps inside her home after several trees fell on it during Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)The Oceanis is grounded by a tidal surge at the Port St. Joe Marina, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 in Port St. Joe, Fla. Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 mph Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP)Megan Williams, left, and roommate Kaylee O'Brian take belongings from their destroyed home after several trees fell on the house during Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)Tamiya Waldon looks out at the damage to her neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)A hubcap blows by as a man runs to his car during Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)James Prescott surveys the damage as the remnants of Hurricane Michael move through Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. He was visiting a friend and was not able to leave the street due to downed trees. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)Pam Heckstall surveys the damage as the remnants of Hurricane Michael move through Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. She is not able to leave her street due to downed trees. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)Pine trees litter a yard in Port St. Joe, Fla., on Garrison Avenue on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle. Hurricane Michael formed off the coast of Cuba carrying major Category 4 landfall in the Florida Panhandle. Surge in the Big Bend area, along with catastrophic winds at 155mph. (Douglas R. Clifford/The Tampa Bay Times via AP)Hurricane Michael formed off the coast of Cuba carrying major Category 4 landfall in the Florida Panhandle. Surge in the Big Bend area, along with catastrophic winds at 155mph. Port St. Joe Lodge number 111, at right, lay in ruins on Reid Avenue on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in Port St. Joe, Fla., after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle. (Douglas R. Clifford/The Tampa Bay Times via AP)Panama City was heavily damaged from Hurricane Michael. (Source: WBRC Video)President Donald Trump points towards maps while discussing potential damage from Hurricane Michael with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and FEMA Administrator Brock Long in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)National Hurricane Center director Ken Graham, gestures as he talks about storm surge during a televised update on the status of Hurricane Michael, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, at the Hurricane Center in Miami. At least 120,000 people along the Florida Panhandle were ordered to clear out Tuesday as Hurricane Michael rapidly picked up steam in the Gulf of Mexico and closed in with winds of 110 mph (175 kph) and a potential storm surge of 12 feet (3.7 meters). (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)A storm chaser climbs into his vehicle during the eye of Hurricane Michael to retrieve equipment after a hotel canopy collapsed in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)The waves in Destin reach to the beach walkway Wednesday morning before the powerful Hurricane Michael made landfall along the Florida Panhandle.High tide from offshore Hurricane Michael creeps up into the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 after the Anclote River backs up. (Jim Damaske/The Tampa Bay Times via AP)High tide from offshore Hurricane Michael creeps up into the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 after the Anclote River backs up. (Jim Damaske/The Tampa Bay Times via AP)Hotel employees look at a canopy that just collapsed, as Hurricane Michael passes through in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)A woman checks on her vehicle as Hurricane Michael passes through, after the hotel canopy had just collapsed, in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)This photo made available by NASA shows they eye of Hurricane Michael, as seen from the International Space Station on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (NASA via AP)CORRECTS NAME OF HURRICANE TO MICHAEL FROM MATTHEW - Jeff Ready and his wife Julie Ready rest in a a hallway at an evacuation shelter set up at Rutherford High School, in advance of Hurricane Michael, which is expected to make landfall today, in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)CORRECTS NAME OF HURRICANE TO MICHAEL FROM MATTHEW - Emily Hindle lies on the floor at an evacuation shelter set up at Rutherford High School, in advance of Hurricane Michael, which is expected to make landfall today, in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)CORRECTS NAME OF HURRICANE TO MICHAEL FROM MATTHEW - Ashley Fillingim holds her godson Jerah'monie Anthony Bell, 2 months, at an evacuation shelter set up at Rutherford High School, in Panama City Beach, Fla., in advance of Hurricane Michael, which is expected to make landfall, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)CORRECTS NAME OF HURRICANE TO MICHAEL FROM MATTHEW - Mokeyonia Bell takes her child, Jerah'monie Anthony Bell, 2 months, from godmother Ashley Fillingim, at an evacuation shelter set up at Rutherford High School, in advance of Hurricane Michael, which is expected to make landfall today, in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)Heavy surf from the approaching Hurricane Michael pounds the fishing pier on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (Devon Ravine/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)Jayden Morgan carries his dog through a flooded street in St. Marks, Fla., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, as his family evacuates at the last minute before Hurricane Michael hits the state. (AP Photo/Brendan Farrington)An unidentified person takes pictures of the surf and fishing pier on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, as Hurricane Michael approaches the Florida Gulf Coast. [Devon Ravine/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)A street in Apalachicola, FL, floods amid storm surge from Hurricane Michael on Wednesday. The storm strengthened to nearly 150 mph before landfall in the Florida Panhandle.People photograph the surf from encroaching Hurricane Michael, which is expected to make landfall today, in Panama City Beach, FL, Wednesday, Oct. 10. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)The storm is intensifying, with seaweed washing onto U.S. 98 in Franklin County, FL, on Wednesday morning. Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall as a Category 4 on Wednesday afternoon.Roads in Shalimar, FL, are flooded on Wednesday morning well ahead of the Category 4 storm's landfall in the Florida Panhandle.The St. Marks River overflows into the city of St. Marks, FL, ahead of Hurricane Michael, Wednesday, Oct. 10. (AP Photo/Brendan Farrington)A NOAA satellite captured the well-defined eyewall of Hurricane Michael on Wednesday morning.Patrons who so far have chosen not to evacuate gather at Buster's Beer & Bait for drinks, in Panama City Beach, FL., Tuesday, Oct. 9. Despite officials' warning about the storm's severity, some chose not to evacuate. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)This photo provided by April Sarver shows a flooded neighborhood boat dock in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Tuesday, Oct. 9, as a fast and furious Hurricane Michael sped toward the Florida Panhandle, giving tens of thousands of people precious little time to get out or board up. (April Sarver via AP)Krystal Day, of Homosassa, Fla., left, leads a sandbag assembly line at the Old Port Cove restaurant Tuesday, Oct. 9 in Ozello, FL. Employees were hoping to protect the restaurant from floodwaters as Hurricane Michael continues to churn in the Gulf of Mexico heading for the Florida panhandle. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)Waves crash against the Malecon, triggered by the outer bands of Hurricane Michael, as man drives past in a classic American car in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Oct. 9. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Scott announced Tuesday that 54 shelters were opening across the state in preparation.

In Tallahassee, police warned residents to get inside and stay there.

“Do not get out and drive in the storm,” Tallahassee Police tweeted. “Stay inside after the storm has passed so we can evaluate the safety of our community and identify hazards.”

In nearby Walton County, emergency management suspended its services as the storm approached.

From the White House, President Donald Trump marveled at the expanse of the storm.

“It’s almost the entire size of the Gulf,” he said, flanked by Federal Emergency Management Administrator Brock Long and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

The president said he will visit the state once the storm has passed, likely Sunday or Monday.

Residents of many Florida counties along the Panhandle and the west coast have been issued mandatory evacuation orders. Other counties have been issued voluntary or phased evacuation orders.

The orders affect at least 2 million people, CNN reports.

Mandatory evacuations are in place for the following Florida counties: Bay, Citrus, Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Okaloosa, Taylor and Wakulla.

Voluntary or phased evacuations are in place for these Florida counties: Calhoun, Hernando, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Pasco and Washington.

Those in mobile homes or other weak structures in particular were urged to leave. Tolls were suspended in order to help people evacuate.

Ahead of the storm, residents stocked up on food, water and gasoline. Some gas stations in the Panhandle ran out of fuel Tuesday as demand surged, WKMG reported. Officials from AAA said fuel trucks were operating nonstop to keep the stations supplied.

By Monday morning, generators were sold out in many Tallahassee-area stores, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

Water levels began rising Tuesday.

Michael is expected to cut a path across the Southeast through Thursday night before heading north-eastward.

Widespread power outages, major tree damage and structural damage were predicted for the Panhandle, with some of this damage extending as far as parts of northern Georgia and North and South Carolina, the Weather Channel reports.

These states may also see tornadoes spawn into Thursday.

President Trump approved an emergency declaration for Florida Tuesday, meaning federal aid will be available to the state to assist in hurricane recovery.

Scott first declared a state of emergency Sunday, then expanded it the next day to include 35 counties.

The governors of Alabama and Georgia also declared states of emergency because of the expected effects of the storm on those states.

Tropical storm warnings have been issued from north of Fernandina Beach, FL, to Duck, NC, and the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds in North Carolina.

A storm surge warning is in effect for Panama City to Keaton Beach in Florida. A storm surge watch is in effect for Ocracoke Inlet, NC, to Duck, NC.

The Florida Panhandle and Big Bend areas, in addition to southern portions of Alabama and Georgia, are expected to receive as much as 12 inches of rain through Friday.

The rest of Georgia, the Carolinas and southern Virginia are expected to receive as much as 8 inches.

The Florida Peninsula, eastern mid-Atlantic and southern New England coast could see as much as 3 inches of rain.

Michael began to weaken after making landfall and as it began moving across the Southeast. It could reach Virginia and Maryland Thursday night or Friday. Forecasters expect Michael to re-emerge over water and head away from the U.S. on Friday.

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