• 320,000 people did not evacuate despite official orders and dire warnings as category-4 Hurricane Michael approached the Florida coast.
  • Some people ignored the warnings, while others were not able as the storm rapidly intensified just before it hit the panhandle.
  • The storm was the worst recorded in the region and has killed at least two people.
  • FEMA said that the death toll could rise as search and rescue efforts begin, warning: "People do not live to tell the tale about storm surge."

320,000 people did not evacuate the path of Hurricane Michael as it approached the Florida coast, where it went on to devastate the coast and kill at least two people and leave 280 missing.

More than 500,000 people were under mandatory evacuation notices or urged to find higher ground before the hurricane, the strongest ever recorded in the region, hit.

Brad Kieserman, the Vice President of Operations and Logistics for the American Red Cross, said that 60,000 people evacuated to emergency shelters, mostly in Florida, Reuters reported.

"I’ve lived here all my life and the storm brought things I’ve never seen," Lamonica said. "There were several times I thought maybe I should have left."

But many people were not able to leave, for financial reasons or due to disability or illness.

The storm also intensified extremely rapidly, leaving people scrambling to make plans — a small tropical depression into a record-breaking Category 4 hurricane in just 72 hours.

About 3,500 Florida National Guard troops were deployed, along with more than 1,000 search-and-rescue personnel, Scott said.

The Pentagon positioned more than 2,200 active-duty military personnel in the region, as well as helicopters, high-water vehicles, and swift-water boats.