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Florida picks up the pieces in Hurricane Michael's wake

Michael weakened to a tropical storm, but only after wreaking a day of havoc along Florida's Gulf Coast AFP

Panama City (United States) (AFP)

Residents of the Florida Panhandle woke to scenes of devastation Thursday after Michael tore a path through the coastal region as a powerful hurricane that killed at least two people.

The streets of Panama City were littered with snapped trees, downed power lines, torn-off roofs, glass and other debris after the passage of the most violent hurricane in the United States since 1969.

"There is unbelievable devastation. My biggest concern is, of course, loss of life. I know we have a lot of people that I have heard are injured," Governor Rick Scott, who plans to visit impacted areas later in the day, told CNN.

After packing winds that at one point swirled at 155 miles (250 kilometers) per hour, Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm. After crossing Florida, it was passing through Alabama, Georgia and on to South Carolina.

In Dothan, Alabama, advertising signs and utility posts were torn out of the ground, while sheet metal roofs were ripped off several businesses. Some that fell across the road were cut up in the morning to allow cars to pass.

There were power cuts at several intersections and police officers manned traffic.

Speaking on Fox News, President Donald Trump promised that reconstruction would "go fast."

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