'Ferocious' Hurricane Michael floods town, rips up trees after crashing into Florida

11 October, 2018, 11:42 | Author: Darnell Taylor

Powerful winds, devastating storm surge and heavy rain are predicted in the Florida Panhandle, the finger-shaped strip of land along the Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane Michael, the most powerful on record to hit the Florida Panhandle since 1851, is tracking north toward Georgia and the Carolinas and bringing unsafe storm surges and flooding.

Officials reported at least one storm-related fatality, a man in Greensboro, Florida, was killed when a tree fell on top of his home, a spokesperson for the Gadsden County sheriff said.

With maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, Michael made landfall Wednesday afternoon as a strong Category 4 storm near Panama City, Florida.

Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm as it raced across Georgia late Wednesday night. But it's still menacing the Southeast with heavy rains, winds and a threat of spinoff tornadoes. "It's going to be incredibly catastrophic".

After the space station passed over the storm, Auñón-Chancellor shared a photograph of the storm's eye.

The storm came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson wind scale, the biggest storm on record to strike by Florida Panhandle. Only the 1935 storm and Camille had lower pressures, Mr. Klotzbach said.

Maximum sustained winds are forecast to be in the range of 40 to low 50 miles per hour range, according to the NWS.

"Michael will then move northeastward across the southeastern United States and then move off the Mid-Atlantic coast by early Friday. We're seeing up to nine feet of inundation in parts of Apalachicola, Florida, and that wasn't even where Michael made landfall".

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Just a few miles to the east of Panama City Beach lies the tourist town of Mexico Beach, which took a direct hit.

Warmer water acts as fuel for a hurricane, helping it develop into a more destructive, windier storm.

After the hurricane made landfall, Florida Governor Rick Scott urged those who didn't evacuate to stay in place. It is the fourth strongest on record, and nothing this ferocious has ever hit the Panhandle.

The National Weather Service office in Tallahassee issued a dramatic appeal for people to comply with evacuation orders.

"Where homes were, they are not", Ginger Zee, ABC's chief meteorologist, said in a video posted on Twitter.

President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida, freeing up federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses.

Previous year saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Harvey, which caused a record-equaling $125 billion in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area.

Sally Crown rode out Michael on the Florida Panhandle thinking at first that the worst damage was the many trees downed in her yard.

Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather, such as storms, droughts, floods and fires.

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