Forecasters say Michael will come ashore over the Florida Panhandle sometime midday Wednesday. "It will be life-threatening and extremely risky".
Michael is shaking up the upcoming election in the battleground state of Florida.
As of 9 a.m. Thursday, the storm was about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west-northwest of Columbia, South Carolina, moving northeast at 21 mph (33 kph).
Then the storm hit, blasting homes with high winds and heavy rains.
325,000: Estimated number of people in the storm's path who were told to evacuate by local authorities.
Cameras outside the International Space Station captured video of Michael as the storm continued churning over the Gulf of Mexico. The base had been evacuated before the storm and no injuries were reported.
Tropical storm-force winds are expected to be in the area as soon as Tuesday night.
Michael, the 7th hurricane in 2018 in the Atlantic basin. "It looks like another big one".
At the White House, President Donald Trump said, "God bless everyone because it's going to be a rough one", he said.
On October 10, "Michael" broke in Panama city (FL) with the power of 4th category. Boats once docked in the canal have been pushed far up onto the land, and much of what would normally be on land floats in the canal.
The full extent of the damage was only slowly becoming clear, with some of the hardest-hit areas difficult to reach because of roads blocked by debris or water.
But hours before the storm hit, it was too late for many to flee.
"Storm surge is the No. 1 problem that you can see from these storms".
Travis Brooks, Director of Seminole County's emergency management agency, told ABC News there was "complete and total devastation".
As a result of the strengthening, the National Weather Service in Tallahassee has issued the regions first ever extreme wind warning effective until 2:15 p.m. EDT. The vast majority are in Florida and Georgia.
Thousands fled the Florida coastline before Michael hit. "Once you are sheltered, STAY PUT", Florida Gov.
Hurricane Michael's assault on the Florida Panhandle left nothing more than empty foundations and heaps of rubble in some parts of the small towns it crashed into with near-record force.
"With Michael being a very strong Category 4 upon landfall, it had a very well-defined eye, with the 'stadium effect, ' as it's called, and it was a very rare thing to see in person".
He said strong winds picked up a portable carport Wednesday and dropped it down on the roof. They anticipate torrential rains and winds of upwards of 120 miles per hour.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is calling this Disturbance 1.
"Water will come miles in shore and could easily rise over the roofs of houses", he said.
SULLIVAN: The governor has declared a state of emergency in 35 counties and is stressing the need to follow any evacuation orders. Do not think you can survive it. He spoke to WUFT. You can not hide from this storm. You have rain. You have wind. Influences on the formation, direction and strength of hurricanes can involve faraway events like dry air from Saharan dust storms, the heated waters of El Niño in the Pacific, the undulations of the jet stream.
SULLIVAN: Right now he's working to get county residents protective measures before the hurricane makes landfall today. Tornadoes, winds and more flooding is possible in the same area still recovering from Hurricane Florence.