Florida town almost wiped off the map by Hurricane Michael

People line up for gasoline outside Tallahassee Florida on Monday as Hurricane Michael bears down on the northern Gulf coas

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in more than 20 counties along the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend on Sunday.

"We had houses that were on one side of the street and now they're on the other", said Mayor Bo Patterson, who watched trees fly by his window as he rode out the storm in his home seven blocks from the beach.

Forecasters warned that Michael could ultimately dump a foot (30 centimeters) of rain in western Cuba, triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountain areas.

Michael is the first major hurricane to blow into Georgia since the 1898.

It weakened to a storm as it moved inland towards the north-east, but at least six people have died, majority in Florida.

Mandatory evacuation orders went into effect Tuesday morning for some 120,000 people in Panama City Beach and across other low-lying parts of the coast as Hurricane Michael approaches.

Which areas are worst affected?

Tropical Storm Michael is expected to become a hurricane on Monday and was on track to hit the Florida Panhandle midweek, with the potential to pack winds of at least 100 miles per hour (160 km per hour), the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Catastrophic scenes have emerged across the Florida Panhandle, but none perhaps worse than in Mexico Beach, described as ground zero of the devastation.

Twenty survivors were found in the town overnight, AP reports, but 285 had refused to obey warnings to evacuate. It was expected to blow ashore around midday Wednesday near Panama City Beach, along a lightly populated stretch of fishing villages and white-sand spring-break beaches.

Debris and floodwater are also making some of the worst-hit areas hard to reach.

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No wind, nearly no-one on the street, just the beating hot Sun and the debris: debris everywhere, tossed and scattered - the calling card of a monstrous storm.

On the left, as we walk, there's a mattress slumped at the roadside, on the right a Dean Noontz novel lies in the dirt. "We lost all our cars". She's desperate for news about the condition of her home, but she can't reach anyone, she says. This was her dream retirement place she tells me - the last four years spent doing it up.

The sheer force of Hurricane Michael has been well analysed, but it's only when you see the everyday stuff of people's lives crushed, broken, smashed to pieces, that you realise they will be living with this long after we have gone.

One death has been confirmed in the state.

Travis Brooks, director of Seminole County's emergency management agency, told ABC News there was "complete and total devastation".

Prior to making landfall in the US, flooding from Michael had already led to at least 13 deaths in Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. Following Hurricane Irma a year ago, 14 people died when a South Florida nursing home lost power and air conditioning.

Around 6,000 are thought to have sought refuge in official shelters, mainly in Florida.

A Florida town has been almost wiped off the map and at least six people are dead after Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida Panhandle, Georgia and the Carolinas.

While Florence took five days between the time it turned into a hurricane and the moment it rolled into the Carolinas, Michael gave Florida what amounted to two days' notice.

Trump said he is working closely with governors of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama and Georgia to provide resources and support from the federal government.

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