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2 Killed As Hurricane Michael Batters North-west Florida

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Hurricane Michael, the third-most powerful storm to hit the United States, claimed two lives as it battered north-west Florida, flooding beach towns and toppling trees and power lines.

It made landfall as a raging Category 4 storm in the Gulf of Mexico beachfront area Wednesday afternoon.

Michael, packing winds of 155 miles per hour (250 kilometers), was the strongest storm to hit the state's northern Panhandle area in more than a century.

Reports quoting Florida officials said a man was killed when a tree crashed down on a home in Gadsden County.

A 11 year-old girl died by falling debris in Seminole County, Georgia.

Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were in blackout in Florida, Alabama and Georgia since Wednesday night and officials warn that some areas could be without power for days.

Federal Emergency and Management Agency (FEMA) officials said in a press conference on Thursday morning that hundreds of medical personnel have been activated across the affected regions to provide search and rescue and other life-saving measures.

After wreaking havoc in Florida, Hurricane Michael has weakened, and tropical-storm-force winds have dropped to 50 mph (80 kmph).

Storm and rain have moved across to the Carolinas and Georgia, but are still dangerous, the National Hurricane Center has warned.

In a Public Advisory issued at 8 am ET Thursday, NHC forecast that the center of Michael will continue to move across central South Carolina this morning, then move across portions of central and eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia in the afternoon, and move into the Atlantic Ocean by late tonight or early Friday.

Florida, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina are under a state of emergency, where schools and government offices are to remain closed this week.

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