EDITOR'S NOTE: Please continue following our live updates here. Thursday's original story appears below.
One of Hurricane Michael's survivors said his city "looks like an atomic bomb" hit it. Florida's Panhandle is one huge disaster zone after catastrophic winds, heavy rain and devastating storm surge.
Michael was one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to make landfall in the U.S. mainland. The storm was being blamed for at least six deaths.
As of mid-afternoon Thursday, more than 687,000 homes and businesses in the Southeast had no electricity. Michael was a tropical storm, hitting North Carolina and South Carolina with heavy downpours and threatening to cause tornadoes.
As of 2 p.m. ET, Michael's core was approximately 25 miles south of Greensboro, North Carolina, heading northeast at a rapid 23 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Follow Hurricane Michael updates below
Florida gov. asks for debate delay in Senate race
Florida Gov. Rick Scott asked to delay a debate with Sen. Bill Nelson for two weeks so he can focus on response-and-recovery efforts following Hurricane Michael. Scott, a Republican, issued a statement Thursday asking CNN to postpone the debate with the Democratic incumbent, which was originally scheduled for this coming Tuesday.
Scott cited "catastrophic destruction caused by Hurricane Michael" and said he's certain Nelson agrees the response should be a priority. He said, "We appreciate CNN understanding the dire situation in North Florida," and added that Scott "will have no time for campaigning in the next few weeks as he focuses exclusively on recovery efforts for the foreseeable future."
Dramatic drone video shows decimated school
Dramatic drone video shows extensive damage to a school in Florida's Panama City, giving a sense of Hurricane Michael's ferocity. The video shows collapsed roofing and walls, scattered debris and mangled building materials.
FEMA Administrator Brock Long said it could take months, or even years, for some of the hardest-hit areas to recover from the storm.
Water rescues carried out in North Carolina
Bands of rain from Hurricane Michael lashed the western part of North Carolina, causing some water rescues and a landslide that closed a road. Gov. Roy Cooper urged all residents to be on alert as the storm blows through the state.
Cooper said officials were monitoring several rivers for potential flooding in the central, eastern and western parts of the state, though not the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Florence last month. In western North Carolina's Henderson County, emergency services director Jimmy Brissie said first responders have been busy since the early morning helping people in cars trapped in high water and residents who need help leaving low-lying areas.
Brissie said about 20 people were pulled out of neighborhoods inundated by flash flooding. He said he's not aware of any injuries.
McDowell County emergency services director Adrienne Jones said a landslide closed a road and a swift-water rescue crew pulled a man to safety in Buncombe County. In Asheville, two people in a hammock who found themselves surrounded by floodwaters were pulled onto an inflatable boat.
Judge rejects Florida voter registration extension
A federal judge rejected a push to extend Florida's voter registration deadline because of Hurricane Michael, saying there's "no justification" to do so. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled late Wednesday against the Florida Democratic Party, which called the Republican-led response to the storm's disruption confusing and inadequate.
Florida's deadline to register to vote was Tuesday, 29 days ahead of the Nov. 6 election. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner told local election supervisors that if their offices were closed Tuesday due to the hurricane, then they could accept paper applications for a single day once their offices reopen.
Coroner identifies girl killed by flying carport
A coroner has identified the 11-year-old girl who was killed as Hurricane Michael blew through south Georgia. Seminole County coroner Chad Smith on Thursday identified the girl as Sarah Radney.
Smith said an official cause of death had not been determined but that it would likely be massive blunt force trauma. Seminole County Emergency Management Agency director Travis Brooks said strong winds picked up a portable carport Wednesday and dropped it on the roof of the home sheltering the girl.
One of the carport's legs punctured the roof and hit the girl in the head.
Trump defends attending rally as Michael hit Florida
President Trump defended attending a campaign rally on Wednesday night in Pennsylvania as Hurricane Michael raked across Florida. "I couldn't tell people that had been standing in line for a day and a half wanting to get into the arena that I'm not going," the president told reporters in the Oval Office on Thursday morning.
"We had great control over what we were doing, both on Air Force One, at the White House and in Florida," Mr. Trump said. The president is planning to attend similar rallies in Ohio on Friday night and in Kentucky on Saturday night.
Mr. Trump is expected to visit areas affected by Michael early next week.
Helicopter crew rescues 9 from bathroom in Florida
The U.S. Coast Guard in Mobile, Alabama, said its crews have rescued 27 people, mostly from damaged homes. Petty Officer Third Class Ronald Hodges told The Associated Press that a Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew pulled nine people from a bathroom of their Panama City home after their roof collapsed Wednesday afternoon.
Crews were out early Thursday searching for more victims. Hodges said the number of rescues remains fluid and there were no reports of deaths so far from the Coast Guard's missions.
Florida emergency officials said they're starting to transfer patients out of damaged health care facilities. They're also trying to figure out the extent of damage to roads and bridges.
A huge swath of Interstate 10, the main east-west route near the coast, was blocked off due to damage.
Hurricane damage maroons Florida mental hospital
Florida officials said the state's big mental hospital in Chattahoochee was entirely cut off by land, so they're dropping food and supplies in from the air. The mental hospital has a section that houses the criminally insane, but officials said the facility itself has not been breached.
Gov. Rick Scott said people from Florida's Panhandle to the Big Bend woke up to "unimaginable destruction." He said Hurricane Michael has changed lives forever and "many families have lost everything."
"This hurricane was an absolute monster," he said. In Panama City, Bay County emergency management officials said most roads remained blocked by water or debris Thursday morning, so survivors should "stay put and standby."
As for people outside the disaster zone, officials are asking those moved by images of the destruction to make monetary donations to relief organizations rather than sending supplies.
Georgia girl killed by leg of carport, not tree
Authorities are correcting early reports about the death of an 11-year-old girl as Hurricane Michael blew over southwest Georgia. Seminole County Emergency Management Agency director Travis Brooks said it wasn't a tree but a carport that hit her home and killed her.
He said strong winds picked up a portable carport Wednesday and dropped it down on the roof. One of the carport's legs punctured the roof and hit the girl in the head.
Brooks said he wasn't able to get out much overnight to fully assess the damage in the county because downed power lines and trees made roads impassable in the darkness. But he said the sheriff told him it looked like a bomb had gone off.
Michael appeared to do its worst in Panama City
In Panama City, Florida, Hurricane Michael appeared to do its worst, "CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor reports. Some houses and businesses were unrecognizable.
The roof of a school gymnasium was torn open. An entire freight train was pushed clear off the rails.
Sabrina Marshall was inside her home as parts were torn away from her. "And the door just -- psssh -- and the roof flew off," she said.
Downed trees and tangled power lines have made many streets impassable. "I was in a bunker, almost a bunker," Karen Hasket said, "and just prayers."
At Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, the devastation was extensive. An entire roof was stripped from an aircraft hanger.
Overturned trucks and debris littered the tarmac. The base commander had ordered an evacuation on Monday.
Key highway closed so crews can clear debris
The Florida Highway Patrol has closed an 80-mile stretch of Interstate 10 to clear debris from Hurricane Michael.
In an email sent early Thursday, spokesman Eddie Elmore said the road was closed "due to extremely hazardous conditions."
The agency is working with the Florida Department of Transportation to clear the interstate, which is the major east-west route across northern Florida and the Panhandle.
Elmore said the road is closed west of Tallahassee, between mile marker 85 near DeFuniak Springs and mile marker 166 near Lake Seminole.
The email didn't say how long the work was expected to take.
Almost 700,000 and counting without power
Michael has left some 664,000 homes and businesses without power as it continues its march over the Southeast.
Crews from numerous states were on hand to help restore electricity to those who lost it.
As of 6 a.m. EDT Thursday, some 323,000 customers had no power in Florida, 60,000 in Alabama, 236,000 in Georgia and 45,000 in South Carolina.
Michael still losing strength over eastern Georgia
Tropical Storm Michael continued to peter out over eastern Georgia early Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.
As of 5 a.m., the core of the once ferocious Category 4 hurricane was some 30 miles west of Augusta and 90 miles northeast of Macon heading northeast at a brisk 21 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.
The NHC says, "On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move through eastern Georgia into central South Carolina this morning, then moves across portions of central and eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia into the Atlantic Ocean by late tonight or early Friday.
" ... Some additional weakening is expected today while the center remains over land. However, Michael is forecast to intensify as it becomes a post-tropical low over the Atlantic latetonight or early Friday."
Tropical-storm-force winds extended outward up to 160 miles.
Words to the wise from National Weather Service
As Michael made its way north after slamming the Florida Panhandle, the National Weather Service took to Twitter to offer a critical safety tip to those in the storm's path:
Michael continues to weaken over central Georgia
Tropical Storm Michael is losing more punch as it crosses Georgia.
As of 2 a.m. EDT, the once fierce hurricane's core was about 25 miles east of Macon, packing maximum sustained winds of 60 mph and speeding northeast at a 20 mph clip, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The NHC said, "On the forecast track, the core of Michael will move across central and eastern Georgia this morning, and then over southern and central South Carolina later today. Michael will then move northeastward across the southeastern United States and then move off the Mid-Atlantic coast by early Friday.
"Michael will steadily weaken as it crosses the southeastern United States, but it is forecast to re-strengthen some when it moves off the east coast of the United States and becomes apost-tropical cyclone on Friday."
Tropical-storm-force winds extended outward up to 160 miles.
Second death blamed on Michael
Authorities are attributing a second death to Michael.
Seminole County, Georgia emergency officials confirm to CBS News that a child was killed when a tree fell on a home during the storm.
Earlier, a tree that fell during Michael killed someone in Gadsden County, Florida, the Sheriff's Office there told CBS News.
Michael becomes tropical storm
The National Hurricane Center said late Wednesday that Michael had become a tropical storm as it moved over central Georgia. Michael had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph winds as of midnight EDT Thursday and its center was located some 30 miles south-southwest of Macon, Georgia.
Eye of Michael moving across southern Georgia
The eye of Hurricane Michael will be moving across southern Georgia overnight Wednesday into Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said. The center of the storm was located about 45 miles south-southwest of Macon, Georgia, as of 11 p.m.
The storm is weakening as it moves across Georgia. As of 11 p.m., it had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.
The National Weather Service discontinued the hurricane warning for the Florida Panhandle and storm surge warning has been discontinued west of Panama City and southeast of Keaton Beach.
Video captures massive tree uprooting in Florida
In another video posted online from Panama City, trees can be seen swaying and snapping from Hurricane Michael's ferocious winds:
Shelter houses hundreds of people in Bristol, Florida
CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste spent the day at a school serving as a shelter where more than 200 people have taken shelter as Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle. Some were rescued Wednesday and brought there for safety.
"It's been too dangerous to leave at all today," Battiste said. "A tornado has also hit this area causing severe damage. You can hear and feel the wind and rain shaking the doors and the school here and the trees lining the school outside have split in half."
"It looks like an apocalypse," one law enforcement officer told CBS News.
Hurricane Michael becomes Category 1 storm
The NHC said in its latest advisory that Hurricane Michael is now a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph.
CBS News weather producer said that Hurricane Michael had gained wind speeds of 55 mph in about a 30 hour time span before making landfall earlier Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph.
The storm was located about 20 miles southwest of Albany, Georgia. Damaging winds are tearing through the central and eastern panhandle of Florida and south-central Gerogia. Storm flooding is still occurring along the Gulf Coast.
NHC said Michael will steadily weaken as it crosses the southeastern United States through Thursday night, becoming a tropical storm by Thursday morning. Michael is forecast to strengthen some Thursday night and Friday when it moves off the east coast of the United States and becomes a post-tropical cyclone Friday.
The NHC said the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend, southeast Alabama and portions of southwest and central Georgia could see 4 to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches. This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods.
The remainder of Georgia, North and South Carolina and into Virginia could see 3 to 6 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches. This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods.
About 1 to 3 inches could fall on the Florida Peninsula, eastern Mid Atlantic and southern New England coast.
Hurricane Michael by the numbers
- Hurricane history: First Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Florida's Panhandle since record-keeping began in 1851. With a minimum pressure of 919 millibars in the hurricane's eye, it was the third most intense hurricane landfall in the U.S. in recorded history
- Wind speeds at 8 p.m.: 90 mph, with gusts topping 60 mph at several Georgia airports
- Current location: 20 miles southwest of Albany, Georgia
- High tides: Storm surge of 6 feet up to 14 feet forecast for Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend
- Get out: Roughly 375,000 people in Florida warned to evacuate
- Staying safe: Nearly 6,700 people took refuge in 54 shelters in Florida
- Power outages: 370,060 customers without power in Florida, Alabama and Georgia
- Food and water: 1.5 million ready-to-eat meals, 1 million gallons of water and 40,000 10-pound bags of ice ready for distribution
Hurricane Michael has turned deadly
A Panhandle man was killed by a tree toppling on a home, Gadsden County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Anglie Hightower said. But she added emergency crews trying to reach the scene were hampered by downed trees and debris on roadways. The man wasn't immediately identified.
"CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor is in Florida
Jeff Glor will anchor Wednesday's "CBS Evening News" from Panama City Beach, Florida.
Gov. Rick Scott: "100 percent is focused on search and rescue"
Florida Gov. Rick Scott held a briefing at 6 p.m. ET hour to say officials are "100 percent focused on search and rescue."
He had earlier warned Floridians: "We are still in the midst of a Category 4 catastrophic and historic storm."
Power outages widespread in Florida, Georgia, Alabama
CBS News reports approximately 288,502 customers are without power in Florida, approximately 40,557 customers without power in Georgia and approximately 41,001 customers without power in Alabama.
Duke Energy, the country's No. 2 power company that has customers in the path of Hurricane Michael, said the storm could cause some 300,000 to 500,000 power outages. "Complete power restoration from a storm of this magnitude could take several days," the company wrote on its website.
Customers can report power outages by visiting duke-energy.com, texting OUT to 57801 or calling 1-800-228-8485.
Latest Hurricane Michael forecast as of 5 p.m. ET
The National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Michael is moving further inland, but it remains an extremely dangerous hurricane with many different hazards.
NHC reports in its latest advisory there is "life-threatening storm surge" along portions of the Florida Panhandle, Big Bend and Nature Coast. They pointed out the worst of it will be located between Tyndall Air Force Base and Aucilla River -- where 5 to 10 feet of surge is ongoing.
NHC also mentioned that Michael will continue to produce "life-threatening flash flooding" in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend regions and into portions of southeast Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina and southeast Virginia.
NHC warned Michael will produce "life-threatening hurricane-force winds" across portions of the Florida Panhandle, southeast Alabama and southwestern Georgia tonight as the "core of the hurricane continues to move inland."
Florida governor: "Continue sheltering in place"
Florida Gov. Rick Scott used a tweet to warn Floridians: "We are still in the midst of a Category 4 catastrophic and historic storm."
"Stay inside until directed further so that our recovery teams can move in as quickly as possible," he added.
Trump heads to Pennsylvania for campaign rally
President Trump is sticking to his campaign schedule as Hurricane Michael rakes across Florida. The president left the Oval Office at 3:52 p.m. ET on his way to Erie, Pennsylvania, for a "Make America Great Again" rally, CBS News' Sara Cook reports.
"I cannot disappoint the thousands of people that are there - and the thousands that are going," Mr. Trump said on Twitter. The rally is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET.
The president waved to White House reporters, but didn't respond to questions as he walked to Marine One, Cook reports. Earlier Wednesday, Mr. Trump said that he may visit areas affected by Michael early next week.
Michael to stay strong despite moving inland
The director of the National Hurricane Center said Michael was going to keep its strength even as it moves into Alabama and Georgia. By 4 p.m. ET, Michael had top sustained winds of 140 mph as its core moved over Florida's Panhandle, down from 150 mph an hour earlier.
Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, earlier Wednesday afternoon with 155 mph winds. The hurricane center's Director Ken Graham said that when a storm comes ashore with winds that strong, "it's going to stay a hurricane for a while."
Michael's large size means its winds will continue pushing storm surge inland as well. The hurricane center said a National Ocean Service water level station in Apalachicola has reported storm surge of nearly 8 feet above ground.
Nearly 6,700 people in Florida shelters, gov. says
Nearly 6,700 people were in Florida shelters as Hurricane Michael was making landfall, according to a statement from Gov. Rick Scott's office. The state had 54 shelters open.
The state estimated that more than 375,000 Floridians were ordered to evacuate, but officials had expressed concerns about people not heeding evacuation orders. On Wednesday morning, Scott announced that it was too late for people in coastal areas to evacuate and that they should seek shelter instead.
At noon ET, 29,981 power customers had lost electricity, according to Scott's statement. Duke Energy had said Tuesday that it expected between 100,000 and 200,000 of its customers in the Panhandle to lose power.
Michael intensified as it was making landfall
The National Hurricane Center said Michael intensified as it was making landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, as a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane, pushing a deadly storm surge and whipping the coast with 155 mph winds. Less than an hour before the storm made landfall, the hurricane center said Michael had top sustained winds of 150 mph.
Forecasters mark landfall as the place and time when the center of the eye strikes land. Minutes earlier, Michael's eyewall came ashore between Panama City and St. Vincent Island, and the hurricane center warned everyone inside the relative calm of the eye not to venture outside.
Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 45 miles from the center. Those winds were tearing some buildings apart in Panama City Beach.
One beachfront structure under construction could be seen collapsing, and metal roofing material flew sideways across parking lots amid sheets of rain.