Of those known to have died in the most recent hurricane, eight have been in Florida, five in Virginia, one in Georgia and three in North Carolina.
Many homes in the heavily-hit Mexico Beach and Port St. Joseph areas were reduced to piles of lumber, broken glass and household items.
Michael was one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever hit the United States and this Gulf Coast community was in its bullseye.
About 280 of the town's 1,200 residents had indicated they meant to ride out the storm, but several of those likely fled at the last minute when the approaching storm's devastating strength became clear, Mayor Al Cathey said.
"Luckily we did not get a surge", Mr. Tenbrunson said of his home.
A small "ride-out" team that hunkered down as the hurricane's destructive eyewall passed directly overhead ventured out to find almost every building severely damaged, many a complete loss.
In Mexico Beach, entire blocks of houses were razed, boats hurled into yards and the streets cluttered with downed power lines and trees. The Panama City hospital is staying open receiving patients in an emergency room running on generator power.
Governor Rick Scott said state officials still "do not know enough" about the fate of those who stayed behind in the region. "We had probably about half an inch of water on my floor and no way to stop it from coming in".
About 5,000 U.S. servicemen were deployed to help with relief and recovery efforts, the Pentagon said, using 100 helicopters and 1,800 high-water vehicles. High winds toppled trees and power lines.
FEMA crews have been using bulldozers and other heavy equipment to push a path through debris to allow rescuers to probe the rubble with sniffer dogs. Mexico Beach, once a pristine and popular detsination is now wiped out-as if a bomb went off. "The best beach in the world". In the storm's wake lay crushed and flooded buildings, shattered lives and at least 15 deaths that state and local officials have linked to the storm, with authorities investigating another three deaths.
Braun reported from Mexico Beach, Florida.
The devastation inflicted by Hurricane Michael came into focus on Thursday with rows upon rows of homes found smashed to pieces, and search-and-rescue crews made their way into the stricken areas in hopes of accounting for hundreds of people who defied evacuation orders. "It's like a war zone".
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"It wasn't going to get this high, realistically".
"Seventy-five percent of our city is not here (destroyed)", he said.
"We will rebuild. We will come back stronger than ever".
One of the first things you notice as you walk into Mexico Beach is the stillness.
Numerous beach's residents followed evacuation orders.
Albrecht, the Mexico Beach councilwoman, would like to return home, but she says the roads are impassible.
"It's hard to grasp", he said.
Allender flipped the camera and showed his face, visibly upset as he said, "So we're real, two people". It quickly bloomed from a "disturbance" with winds of 30 miles per hour on Saturday afternoon into a fearsome storm with gusts over 170 miles per hour.
"Hurricane Michael arrived before most of the state farmers had started harvest for the season - specifically for pecans, peanuts and cotton", Tasnim Shamma reports from Atlanta member station WABE, for NPR's Newscast unit.
"It was just so insane and it's just so bad", he said. "I have seen cotton that was being harvested yesterday. You can not tell where he stopped harvest and where the rest of it was being harvested by the storm".
More than 940,000 homes and businesses on the U.S. East Coast were without power and it could be weeks before power is restored to the most damaged parts of Florida.
Even with the worst of the storm now past, flooding remains a threat, as overwhelmed river systems struggle to cope with massive amounts of water. An 11-year-old girl in Georgia died when Michael's winds picked up a carport and dropped it through the roof of her grandparents' home.