A Florida man has died after a tree fell on to his home during Hurricane Michael, the first victim of the now category 2 storm

By Robyn Merrett
October 11, 2018 12:55 AM

Hurricane Michael claimed its first victim Wednesday as a Florida man died after a tree fell onto his home.

Olivia Smith, a spokeswoman for Gadsden County Sheriff’s Department, tells PEOPLE authorities received a call at around 6 p.m. about a “debris situation where debris fell on the gentleman’s home,” in Greensboro.

Fallen power lines and trees prevented emergency responders from rescuing the man in time, WCTV reported.

The man is in his mid-40s, however, the sheriff’s department is not identifying him until his family can be notified of his passing.

“The county issued a state of emergency on Tuesday, constantly encouraging people to evacuate prior to the storm,” Smith explained. “Once people decide to leave after the storm has already hit— it’s already too late.”

“We just want citizens to be safe,” Smith added.

Michael was a category 4 hurricane when it made landfall Wednesday afternoon, according to The Weather Channel. It has since been downgraded to a category 2.

Hurricane Michael

“Hurricane Michael is the worst storm the Florida Panhandle has ever seen and one of the worst power storms to ever make landfall in the United States,” Governor Rick Scott said in a press conference after the storm hit.

At this time, more than 192,000 homes and residences are without power, Governor Scott said adding that thousands of first responders are doing their best to restore power, conduct medical search, rescue missions and distribute food and water.

President Donald Trump also declared a state of emergency for Florida, which freed up federal assistance for residents.

“Following the storm, we must all come together and work together,” Governor Scott said. “During disasters, Floridians take care of each other. Floridians are strong. Floridians are resilient. We will recover and we will do it together,” Governor Scott continued. “Hurricane Michael cannot break Florida.”

Hurricane Michael later moved to Georgia and is expected to move through the Carolinas overnight, according to The Weather Channel.