On Thursday, supported by dogs, drones and Global Positioning System devices, they found homes in places where they were not a day before, making it hard to do a methodical house-to-house survey.
Numerous damaged Florida buildings were not built to withstand a storm above the strength of a Category 3 hurricane on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale.
Analysts estimate private insurers will pay $6 billion in claims for wind and storm surge damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties and vehicles.
Cars, mattresses, grills and toilets were tossed all over town. We were never in danger but some of the other chasers were.
He described how homes "tumbled and crashed" on the beach. He rode out the storm because he didn't think it was going to be so bad.
The Talmadge Bridge on US 17 over the Savannah River between Savannah, Georgia and SC remains closed because of the threat of high winds on the suspension bridge. About 5 p.m., her brother called a friend and said the house was getting cracks on the wall and the sliding glass doors were blowing in and starting to break. "For this part of the country, you just don't get that".
When visibility returned, "we realized everything was gone", Boutwell said, including his neighbor's beach home and auto.
"State and local governments have stayed on top of moving patients out of hospitals, that have been damaged, and we'll continue to push forward, and right now, we don't have an idea of how long those hospitals are out of commission", said Long.
"We were adequately warned", said Jeanette Allan.
Television news footage showed homes submerged in floodwaters up to their roofs in Mexico Beach. "But when you started to move east, the damage increased fast".
Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane, the strongest on record to hit the area and charged north through Georgia and into the Carolinas and Virginia, wreaking havoc and causing emergencies.
Scott cited "catastrophic destruction caused by Hurricane Michael", and said he's certain Nelson agrees the response should be a priority.
An Associated Press team drove for miles and encountered extensive destruction around Panama City.
By the time the eye of the storm had come ashore, storm surge and sustained wind speeds of 155 miles per hour had already torn apart property. Water seeped into her fourth-floor apartment.
She said the neighbor used binoculars to look across the lake at Jeff McCall's home, and said the roof appeared to be intact.
The storm, which in less than two days grew from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, tore apart entire neighbourhoods in the Panhandle, reducing homes to naked concrete foundations or piles of wood and siding.
Mexico Beach, Fla., as seen from a helicopter chartered by CNN on Thursday morning. Water began pouring into her home, but thankfully her bedroom was spared and she retreated into it to spend the night. The docks are gone and several boats were capsized, including one belonging to her brother, she said. Her home is still standing, unlike others, she said.
Officials in Florida are still assessing the damage - and urging people to stay off the roads. The roar of the winds, he said, sounded like a jet engine. The first weather advisory about the storm went out on Saturday; days later, it became one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to strike the USA mainland.
Grim search underway for victims of Hurricane Michael
Add Hurricane Michael as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Hurricane Michael news, video, and analysis from ABC News. What the 9-foot (2.7-meter) storm surge didn't destroy, the 155 miles per hour (250 kph) winds finished off.