Hurricane Michael, strongest storm to hit US in 50 years, makes landfall in Florida

Hurricane Michael, a monstrous Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds, made landfall in the Florida Panhandle Wednesday afternoon, becoming the strongest storm since Hurricane Camille in 1969.
7:28 | 10/11/18

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Transcript for Hurricane Michael, strongest storm to hit US in 50 years, makes landfall in Florida
Reporter: A hurricane's dramatic realtime destruction. Category 4 Michael shredded the Florida panhandle today, unfolding under the light of day. Around 12:40 central time, Michael making landfall east of Panama City with 155-mile-per-hour winds. A magnitude not seen on the Florida panhandle in more than 100 years. Whipping winds. Flying debris. Roofs ripped off houses. Trees uprooted and tangled up. It's pretty intense out here right now. Reporter: And everywhere coastal water rising. Spilling over, flooding. A hurricane so powerful, so destructive, it's the third strongest to ever hit the continental United States. Our ABC news team spread across Michael as path, noting that Michael is like no other. This now is the strongest, as far as winds go, this far north from the gulf of Mexico since Camille. Reporter: The first outer bands began thrashing just after noon central time. The winds quickly picking up speed. I'm not standing outside because I can't and I won't, it is just too dangerous. We have seen debris flying, pieces of homes, you can hear it. Take a listen to that. Reporter: Ginger zee's team at the center of the storm in Mexico beach. Winds so strong, houses blown right off their foundations. I saw an entire home taken off of its foundation and rolled down the street. That is the type of storm surge we're talking about. My heart is racing. Reporter: Ginger's team losing satellite just as the hurricane made landfall. Some of the most damaging winds set to make landfall imminently, just the sheer scope of these winds, 150 miles per hour. It's hard to wrap your head around this. Reporter: David Muir reporting from Panama City sharing the sound of the howling winds. Just waiting to her what it sounds like standing out here, the sheer force of this. Listen to this. Reporter: Then the hotel where David was broadcasting takes a hit. It's going to go, it's going to go. Reporter: The roof collapsing seconds later. Monstrous winds pushing the crew to safety deeper inside the hotel. Guests standing in the hallway, safer there than in their rooms. You can see the roof of the hotel that we had been standing under, that was the shelter for a category 4 hurricane that has come down on these SUVs. Reporter: Unlike last month's hurricane Florence that parked over North Carolina, Michael is fast-moving, plowing in apocalyptic swath of damage. The scope of the devastation emerging as evening fell tonight. Panama City in Tatters. David checking in on the families riding out the storm in the same hotel. A mother and her children, one of them with autism, their room now flooded. I didn't expect to have a flooded hotel room. No. This is a couple of inches of water. I wasn't expecting it to get this bad that fast. Reporter: On the third floor, windows blown out in the room of our ABC news team. On the highest floor of the hotel -- Those are the streets. The third floor of a hotel, the window blew in. You can see that the streets are completely flooded. Reporter: In Mexico beach, the blue house across the street from where ginger was locked down during the storm, now completely gone. That is where the house used to be. We rode out hurricane Michael in an interior space. Now is the first time to come out here and the home that I saw floating away used to be standing there, it is no longer. Reporter: On the other side of the condo where ginger was staying -- Seeing all of this damage, more than just trees. So much debris. Where homes were, they are not. They are moved. They are -- that one there off its foundation, in the middle of a road. Cars everywhere under water. It's really wild to see in this raw moment. Reporter: Colleen stayed at home with her daughter and mom. Hiding in the closet. All I could hear was a lot of wind. We came out a couple times just to see what was happening. I had to go upstairs and grab a few things. And I thought the roof was going to come off. Reporter: She says Michael spared her and her family. Well, we came outside and saw that the trees were down, and we just saw the fence was down. We just knew we were very lucky. Reporter: I'm in Tallahassee northeast of where Michael made landfall. Here too the wind was a big worry. The Meyers park neighborhood was hammered, downs trees, this sliced the roof in half. Feet away take a look at the neighboring house. Another huge tree on top of the roof, collapsing on it. Just to give you an idea of the size, take a look, it spans the entire length of the roof going all the way into the backyard. Reporter: Michael now barreling toward Georgia as potentially a category 1, already making its presence known. The furious winds tossing trees. Honestly, there's a lot of noise. I mean, we thought the windows were going to break and any time. Reporter: Tornado warnings are up in Georgia where they worry they'll see scenes like this one. Michael continues to weaken as it moves toward the Carolinas where residents are still reeling from the destruction caused by hurricane Florence. This time we'll be spared the full wrath of the storm. But heavy rain and tropical storm-force winds are headed our way. Reporter: President trump debriefed by top FEMA officials in the oval office this morning. We have equipment and teams staged in Maxwell to Atlanta to Orlando ready to move in. Reporter: Then deciding to go ahead with a rally in Pennsylvania. I want to send our thoughts and prayers of our entire nation to everyone in the path of hurricane Michael. Reporter: Tonight hundreds of thousands without power unclear when the lights will go on again. Our thanks to Victor. We turn to Sam champion. Put the storm in perspective for us. What made Michael so powerful? One of the biggest headlines on this storm, on hurricane Michael, will be the rapid intensiication of this system. The water temperatures in the gulf, 4 degrees above Normal. That spot is some of the warmest waters in the gulf. Watch this eye make landfall. It was strengthening and then held that perfect shape and strength for a while as it moved inland. Now this storm joins the list, third on the list, not just of the strongest storms to hit Florida but the strongest storms to hit the U.S. Coast. 1935 labor day. 1969 Camille. Now Michael. Where's it headed now? We have a lot of time on this storm. Overnight tonight into the day tomorrow, it's chugging through Georgia into South Carolina into North Carolina. Right field mond, Virginia, south of that area, maybe even still a tropical storm. But the hurricane center believes as that circulation moves offshore, it may strengthen again. Sam champion, thank you. Always good to see you, my friend.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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