Michael damage Florida: storm churns through Carolinas.

Tropical Storm Michael continues to march through the Southeast, still packing powerful winds and flood-causing rains. Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday as a “potentially catastrophic” Category 4 hurricane — the strongest on record to hit the area — and charged north through Georgia and into the Carolinas, wreaking havoc and causing emergencies. In the storm’s wake lay crushed and flooded buildings, shattered lives and at least two deaths.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) on Thursday declared a state of emergency in advance of the storm’s impact, warning people in the commonwealth to get ready for a sizable hit from the former hurricane.

“I want to urge all Virginians to prepare for the serious possibility of flash floods, tropical storm force winds, tornadoes and power outages,” Northam said in a statement.

In his executive order, Northam said he was activating the state’s emergency operations center as well as the Virginia National Guard.

Northam’s announcement comes after officials in the five states already hit by Michael — Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina — all declared emergencies.

Much of Virginia was under tornado watches and flash flood watches Thursday, with rainfall of up to seven inches predicted in some parts of the state, a total that could lead to dangerous flooding.

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