Owensboro native riding out Hurricane Michael in Panama City

Updated: Oct. 11, 2018 at 5:01 PM EDT
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OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) - Michael is one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the U.S.

It intensified rapidly and while some followed evacuation orders, other chose to stay. The near category five hurricane pummeled Florida before moving into Georgia.

The storm has already killed six people, left more than 500,000 people without power, and destroyed homes.

Owensboro native Phil Damme attempted to stay in Panama City for the storm but realized Wednesday morning he needed to get out.

"We started to feel like a little bit of wind hitting the vehicle and slowed down a little bit," he said. "But it got worse. I mean it felt like maybe someone just hit us on the side. Almost knocked us off the road."

Phil said he originally planned to stay with a friend about 45-minutes away from Panama City Beach.

"Helped him trim a lot of his trees down. He had these huge branches going over the house and stuff, so we trimmed that out of the way but it didn't help at all. What I understood was that he has now three, big, huge trees still hit his home. So we got out in time."

Phil said he's going back to Panama tomorrow to check on his friends that stayed.

“Right now all the cell service is all down. So everybody that’s actually in that area has no service at all. No contact or anything.”

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