The National Hurricane Center says Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, as a catastrophic Category 4 Hurricane at approximately 2 p.m., pushing a deadly storm surge and whipping the coast with 155 miles per hour (250 kph) winds.
Flooding rains of 10 to 20 centimetres, with hurricane force winds and storm surge of up to 3½ metres are in the forecast for the region.
The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Hurricane Michael on October 8 at 2:47 p.m. EDT (1847 UTC) just after it strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane and analyzed the storm in infrared light.
Cameras outside the International Space Station captured video of Michael as the storm continued churning over the Gulf of Mexico.
In Mexico Beach, population 1,000, the storm shattered homes, leaving floating piles of lumber. Its winds roaring, it battered the coastline with sideways-blown rain, powerful gusts and crashing waves.
At a press conference in Citrus County Tuesday afternoon, Governor Rick Scott said the storm is expected to intensify as it approaches Florida's panhandle.
Mr Rick Scott told a news conference on Tuesday: "Hurricane Michael is a monster storm and it keeps getting more unsafe".
"Guess what? That's today", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.More news: Kyrgios Beats Hasty Shanghai Retreat for Third Year Running
"The storm surge is absolutely deadly".
Some parts of Florida have issued mandatory evacuations for residents.
Smith, in Gadsden County, said the situation was risky even for emergency personnel.
"Oh my God, what are we seeing?" said evacuee Rachel Franklin, her mouth hanging open.
Both NOAA and Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft have flown through the hurricane's four quadrants - and the NHC says, "The planes actually passed through the eye around the same time [Tuesday morning], and reported that they could see one another".
Smith could not provide details on the victim. Interests elsewhere across the southeastern United States should monitor the progress of Michael.
General Terrence O Shaughnessy, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command, said some Florida residents may have been surprised by the rapid growth of the storm.
High tides: storm surge of 6 feet (2 meters) up to 14 feet (4 meters) forecast for Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend. Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials.More news: Risks to global financial system rise
Some 120,000 people have been warned to evacuate along Florida's coast, where schools and state offices are to remain shut this week.
Then, as the storm crosses over the Southeast U.S. on Wednesday evening and Thursday, it will weaken.
Forecasters expect Hurricane Michael to grow stronger still as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico on its way to Florida's Panhandle.
The hurricane has undergone a period of "rapid intensification", defined as a 35 mph increase in sustained winds over a 24-hour period.
More than 300 miles of coastline are now under threat, the National Weather Service has said.
Hurricane Michael is coming.
"If you and your family made it through the storm safely, the worst thing you could do now is act foolishly", he said. "This happened so quickly", he said.
At the White House, President Donald Trump said, "God bless everyone because it's going to be a rough one", he said.More news: Trouble for Hubble: gyro fails on space telescope
Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border * Suwanee River Florida to Chassahowitzka Florida * north of Fernandina Beach Florida to South Santee River South Carolina A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
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