The 'scary-looking' view of Hurricane Michael from the International Space Station

Hurricane Michael started whipping up large swell in the Florida's Panhandle region.

By 8pm, Michael was weakened to category-1 storm, with wind gusts reaching 90mph (144kph), the National Hurricane Center reported.

Ken Graham, director of the Miami-based National Hurricane Center, said Michael is "unfortunately, a historical and incredibly risky and life-threatening situation".

A Panhandle man was killed by a tree that toppled on a home, Gadsden County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Anglie Hightower said.

Almost 30 million people are in danger of being impacted by Michael, according to estimates.

Extremely powerful Hurricane Michael crashed into Florida's northwestern Panhandle coast on Wednesday, flooding towns and ripping up trees with 155 mile per hour (249 kph) winds and the potential for a devastating storm surge.

A hurricane warning was in place from the Okaloosa/Walton county line to the Suwannee River and a tropical storm warning was in effect for north of Fernandina Beach, Fla., to Duck, N.C., and Pamlico and Albemarle sounds.

After Hurricane Michael's shrieking winds and crashing waves died down, Brandon and Sydni Troupe drove to their neighborhood in Panama City to asses the damage.

President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for all of Florida, freeing up federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses.

Michael was a meteorological brute that sprang quickly from a weekend tropical depression, going from a Category 2 on Tuesday to a Category 4 by the time it came ashore.

The National Hurricane Center predicts Michael will stay a powerful and unsafe rainmaker as it moves across the U.S. Southeast and off the Mid-Atlantic coast before heading out to sea by Friday.

"We're sending them out now", Scott said.

Hours earlier, it made landfall in Florida as the strongest hurricane to hit the USA in almost 50 years and the third-strongest ever.

Michael's strong, well-developed core makes for a very powerful, windy storm on land.

Residents of Georgia and Alabama have been hit with power blackouts after the hurricane crossed into the southeastern part of the states.

But Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross said yesterday that as many as 320,000 people on Florida's Gulf Coast had disregarded evacuation notices. "God bless everyone because it's going to be a rough one", he said. She said she could smell the pine from snapped tree branches.

"We are attempting to get to the home".

The Greensboro man's death came after Florida Gov. Rick Scott said at a press conference Wednesday night that there had been no reported fatalities yet.

Several hours after the hurricane made landfall, the eye of the storm had moved out of the Panhandle and was just west of Albany, Georgia, the NHC said.

National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen added: "We are in new territory".

Scientists have long warned that global warming will make storms more destructive, and some say the evidence for this may already be visible.

"This happened so quickly, we weren't exactly prepared", he said.

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