Two people have been killed by falling trees due to the extreme weather, according to officials.
Hurricane Michael, the most powerful on record to hit the Florida Panhandle since 1851, is tracking north toward Georgia and the Carolinas and bringing unsafe storm surges and flooding.
Footage shared at around 4pm showed the wind speeds had dropped to 140mph, with a central pressure of 927 MB, but it remained a "very powerful hurricane".
Corelogic noted the compact nature of hurricane Michael, which will have limited the size of the swathe of damage on landfall, but the storm surge has impacted a wide area from Mobile, AL to Tampa, FL, with the maximum storm surge anticipated to be east of Panama City to coastal cities south of Tallahassee, the firm said. Beachfront structures could be seen collapsing and metal roofing materials were blown away amid the heavy rain.
Without power, the city was plunged into darkness at nightfall and its flooded streets were mostly silent and devoid of people or traffic.
As the Category 4 storm's center crossed nearby, Mulligan said, the concrete building shook and vibrated against sustained winds around 155 miles per hour.
After the space station passed over the storm, Auñón-Chancellor shared a photograph of the storm's eye.
Hurricane Michael has killed one person in northern Florida - the first confirmed death from the powerful storm.
Michael had top sustained winds of 150 miles per hour as its core moved over Florida's Panhandle earlier in the afternoon as forecasters warned rain could reach up to a foot and the life-threatening storm surge could swell to 14 feet (4m).
"On the forecast track, the core of Michael will move across southeastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia through this evening", the NHC 5 p.m. advisory read. It made landfall on the coast as a Category 1 hurricane on September 14 and drenched some parts of the state with 40 inches (101 centimeters) of rain.
"We're sending them out now", Scott said. "The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no category four hurricane ever hitting the Florida Panhandle".
"We are catching some hell", said Timothy Thomas, who rode out the storm with his wife in their second-floor apartment in Panama City Beach.
Utility crews from Gulf Power, Duke Energy Florida, Florida Power & Light and public utilities have lined up more than 19,000 workers from their own crews and through mutual-aid agreements with companies across the South and Midwest.
"And this one is going to end up potentially causing more loss of life and damage than a storm like Irma".
Ken Graham, director of the Miami-based National Hurricane Center, said Michael is "unfortunately, a historical and incredibly unsafe and life-threatening situation". He acknowledged that a lot of the residents in the area were poor and said it was probably tough to leave.
Across the Panhandle, roaring winds splintered trees and rooftops.
Another key element to the strength of the storm is its minimum central pressure dropped again, this time to 931 millibars, meaning the eye of the storm is strong, intact and well-defined.
Michael's strength may reflect the effect of climate change on storms.
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The National Hurricane Center predicts Michael will stay a powerful and unsafe rainmaker as it moves across the U.S. Maximum sustained winds are forecast to be in the range of 40 to low 50 miles per hour range, according to the NWS.
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