CNN's Brooke Baldwin surveying Mexico Beach in Florida
Michael is now bringing heavy rain and tropical storm-force winds over North and South Carolina.
The centre of the tropical storm is about 35 miles southeast of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Sustained winds measure 50 miles per hour.
The core of Michael will continue to move across central and eastern North Carolina on Thursday, southeastern Virginia Thursday evening, and move into the Atlantic Ocean Thursday night.
Michael is expected to drop four to seven inches of rain in parts of North and South Carolina, with up to nine inches in isolated spots in North Carolina and Virginia.
Meanwhile, emergency officials rushed to evacuate at least 200 patients from a heavily damaged hospital and a vast search-and-rescue operation took shape across the Florida Panhandle Thursday morning, one day after Hurricane Michael's bombardment left homes splintered to their foundations, roads and water systems compromised and hundreds of thousands of people without electricity.
The storm caused widespread damage, and the authorities said at least two people were killed.
A man died after a tree crashed down on his home and a child was killed when her home was struck by debris.
With the death toll expected to rise, one county to the next was a disaster zone of sirens, upended buildings and newly homeless residents.
There has been widespread devastation of Mexico Beach in Florida after it took a direct hit from Hurricane Michael.
Aerial footage showed whole swaths of homes demolished.