Hurricane Michael before and after photos capture utter devastation

The view from a hotel room in Panama City Beach today

The view from a hotel room in Panama City Beach today

Helicopter footage showed scenes of devastation in the town of Mexico Beach, Florida on Thursday.

"As Tropical Storm Michael turns to the Commonwealth, I want to urge all Virginians to prepare for the serious possibility of flash floods, tropical storm force winds, tornadoes, and power outages", said Northam. Both were killed when trees crashed onto their homes.

Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, called Mexico Beach, which has a population of about 1,200, "ground zero" for the hurricane damage.

Thirty miles up the coast in Panama City, blocks of beachfront homes were obliterated and debris lay strewn aside overturned vehicles.

Homes destroyed in Mexico Beach, Florida.

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"The roof fell in but we lived through it", he said. Michael left a trail of utility wires on roads, flattened tall pine trees and knocked a steeple from a church.

According to authorities more than 900,000 homes and businesses across Florida, Alabama and the Carolinas were left without power.

At the city's Jinks Middle School, the storm peeled back part of the gym roof and tore off a wall.

"I have had employees going to the communities where our kids live, going door to door and checking", Principal Britt Smith by phone. "Roofs are gone", Principal Britt Smith told CNN after talking by phone with some of those who did not evacuate.

Ahead of the storm's arrival, Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of its potential impacts. Wind damage was also evident. Downed power lines lay almost everywhere, while pine trees were stripped and snapped off about 20 feet high.

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