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Hurricane Michael carves path of destruction in Florida

WATCH ABOVE: Michael falls just short of category 5 hurricane, unleashes devastation along Florida panhandle

Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida Wednesday afternoon packing winds of 249 kph — the most powerful hurricane to hit mainland U.S. in nearly 50 years.

The storm flooded towns and destroyed structures as it ripped ashore.

READ MORE: Too late to evacuate: Florida residents told to seek shelter as Hurricane Michael looms

Residents were warned to evacuate as forecasters predicted deadly storm surge, heavy rains and catastrophic winds, but a Red Cross official says as many as 320,000 people on Florida’s Gulf Coast did not evacuate and are likely riding out the storm.

The National Hurricane Center said Michael was set to be the first Category 4 hurricane to hit the area.

The storm was expected to move overland toward Georgia, on track to skim underneath Canada’s East Coast.

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WATCH: Other hurricanes lose strength as they approach land, but Hurricane Michael got even more powerful. Meteorologist Anthony Farnell looks at why. 

Why Hurricane Michael picked up power and where it’s headed
Why Hurricane Michael picked up power and where it’s headed

Below is an archived live blog detailing the storm’s destruction as it made landfall Wednesday.

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