Firefighter Austin Schlarb prefers a door to door search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A boat sits amidst debris in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A resident walks through a damaged home after Hurricane Michael hit in Panama City, Florida, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Hurricane Michael became the strongest storm to hit the U.S. mainland since 1992, and one of the four most intense in history, with winds that reached 155 miles per hour as it made landfall in Florida. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)
Rescue personnel perform a search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Vehicles sit partially submerged in floodwaters after Hurricane Michael hit in Panama City, Florida, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Hurricane Michael became the strongest storm to hit the U.S. mainland since 1992, and one of the four most intense in history, with winds that reached 155 miles per hour as it made landfall in Florida. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

Advertisement

Boats sit in a storage warehouse damaged from Hurricane Michael at Treasure Island Marina in Panama City Beach, Florida, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Investors are tracking Hurricane Michael as it barrels toward Florida with winds strengthening to 145 miles per hour, posing potential consequences for companies in the building, hospital, insurance and energy industries, among others. The Category 4 storm, poised to be the strongest to hit the continental U.S. since 2004, is expected to make landfall Wednesday and could cause $16 billion in damage. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)
Mcdonald's Corp. signage stands damaged from Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach, Florida, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Investors are tracking Hurricane Michael as it barrels toward Florida with winds strengthening to 145 miles per hour, posing potential consequences for companies in the building, hospital, insurance and energy industries, among others. The Category 4 storm, poised to be the strongest to hit the continental U.S. since 2004, is expected to make landfall Wednesday and could cause $16 billion in damage. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)
A vehicle sits partially submerged in floodwaters as a fallen electricity transmission tower lays on the ground in the background after Hurricane Michael hit in Panama City, Florida, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Hurricane Michael became the strongest storm to hit the U.S. mainland since 1992, and one of the four most intense in history, with winds that reached 155 miles per hour as it made landfall in Florida. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)
Boats sit in a storage warehouse damaged from Hurricane Michael at Treasure Island Marina in Panama City Beach, Florida, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Investors are tracking Hurricane Michael as it barrels toward Florida with winds strengthening to 145 miles per hour, posing potential consequences for companies in the building, hospital, insurance and energy industries, among others. The Category 4 storm, poised to be the strongest to hit the continental U.S. since 2004, is expected to make landfall Wednesday and could cause $16 billion in damage. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)
A stop sign stands damaged after Hurricane Michael hit in Panama City, Florida, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Hurricane Michael became the strongest storm to hit the U.S. mainland since 1992, and one of the four most intense in history, with winds that reached 155 miles per hour as it made landfall in Florida. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

Advertisement

A resident walks past debris in front of damaged apartment buildings after Hurricane Michael hit in Panama City, Florida, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Hurricane Michael became the strongest storm to hit the U.S. mainland since 1992, and one of the four most intense in history, with winds that reached 155 miles per hour as it made landfall in Florida. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)
A resident looks up as he walks through a damaged home after Hurricane Michael hit in Panama City, Florida, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Hurricane Michael became the strongest storm to hit the U.S. mainland since 1992, and one of the four most intense in history, with winds that reached 155 miles per hour as it made landfall in Florida. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)
In this image made from video and provided by SevereStudios.com, damage from Hurricane Michael is seen in Mexico Beach, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Search-and-rescue teams fanned out across the Florida Panhandle to reach trapped people in Michael's wake Thursday as daylight yielded scenes of rows upon rows of houses smashed to pieces by the third-most powerful hurricane on record to hit the continental U.S. (SevereStudios.com via AP)
A vehicle sits partially submerged in floodwaters as a fallen electricity transmission tower lays on the ground in the background after Hurricane Michael hit in Panama City, Florida, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Hurricane Michael became the strongest storm to hit the U.S. mainland since 1992, and one of the four most intense in history, with winds that reached 155 miles per hour as it made landfall in Florida. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

Updated Friday, Oct. 10, 9:30 a.m.

Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday afternoon near Mexico Beach, Florida, tearing through the coastal community and leaving many surrounding towns in ruins. It was the strongest storm to hit the Florida Panhandle on record, and the fourth strongest to ever hit the continental U.S.

Over 350,000 residents all along the Florida Panhandle, Alabama and Georgia are now without power. Officials say it could be weeks before it is restored, particularly for towns that were nearly leveled by the Category 4 hurricane.

As of Friday morning, the storm had claimed at least 11 lives. At least 5 people were killed in Virginia alone.

Related: Hurricane Michael: After the storm safety tips

First impressions

Michael made landfall with near-Cat 5 intensity, packing maximum sustained winds of 155 mph.

Industry professionals advise that Michael will likely be a larger insured loss as Florida has more flood policies in place than any other state. However, Howard Mills, Global Insurance Regulatory Leader at Deloitte notes that despite this, the majority of Hurricane Michael victims will be uninsured, so this will be a devastating event for local residents along the Panhandle.

While rain and storm surge was a factor, the largest cause of the catastrophic damage from Michael was due to wind. In affected towns, wind gusts took off roofs and knocked down brick walls, leaving scattered remains throughout the streets of severely impacted areas like Mexico Beach and Panama City Beach.

Related: Toxic red tide could sicken people as Hurricane Michael pushes it ashore

It’s not over yet

As of Thursday morning, the storm was centered about 40 miles west-northwest of Columbia, South Carolina, and is headed northeast. The storm is on track to travel through the Carolinas, bringing roughly 2-6 inches of rain and strong wind gusts to communities in its path.

Accuweather meteorologists say wind gusts of tropical storm force (39 mph or greater) may extend as far to the northeast as southeastern Maryland, southern Delaware and the New Jersey cape, and as far to the northwest as the Interstate 85 corridor.

“With the projected path of Michael, the greatest risk for brief, spin-up tornadoes is near the storm center and south and east of the track of the storm,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said. Gusts of this magnitude can break weak tree limbs and cause power outages, and in this scenario, more than a million could end up without power as a result.

Related: Preparing to respond to a catastrophe? Here’s what you need to know