Hurricane Michael Weakens to Category 1 Storm

11 October, 2018, 10:49 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Hurricane Michael Weakens to Category 1 Storm

Panama City, some 20 miles (32km) from Mexico Beach, has borne the brunt of the storm, as it downed trees, knocked power lines, tore off roofs, and splintered homes, some of which have collapsed.

Hurricane Michael, the fiercest storm to hit Florida in more than 80 years and the third-most powerful ever to strike the USA mainland, battered the state's Gulf coast on Wednesday with roof-shredding winds, raging surf and torrential rains.

Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the USA mainland, behind the unnamed Labor Day storm of 1935 and Camille in 1969. "I didn't expect all this", he said.

Multiple airports were closed on Wednesday, including Tallahassee International Airport, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, Pensacola International Airport and Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport.

A auto is seen caught in floodwaters in Panama City, Fla.

An estimated 375,000 people in more than 20 counties were ordered or advised to evacuate.

Half a million people were advised to evacuate, but officials said Wednesday morning that it was too late to flee and residents who haven't already left should hunker down.

After being battered for almost three hours by strong winds and heavy rains, roads in Panama City were virtually impassable and trees, satellite dishes and traffic lights lay in the streets.

Michael's minimum central pressure - a key measure of hurricane strength - was measured at 919 millibars when it made landfall.

The storm's maximum sustained winds at the time of landfall were 155 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

"That is one scary-looking storm", Serena Aunon-Chancellor, a NASA astronaut, could be heard saying on a live feed from the station just before the storm made landfall.

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"We have massive amounts of food and water that gets brought in immediately as it's leaving".

Timothy Thomas, a resident of Panama City Beach, chose to ride out the storm with his wife in their second-floor apartment.

"This is total devastation", she told CNN.

Surges of as high as 14 feet are expected around where Michael made landfall near Apalachicola, Florida.

Emergency Management Agency director Travis Brooks told WGXA-TV that a child in Seminole County, Ga., died as a result of the storm.

A state of emergency has been declared in several dozen counties along Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend regions. "This happened so quickly", he said.

A total of 453 flights had been cancelled on Wednesday across the country, with many occurring in the Florida area.

President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration for Florida, freeing up federal funds for relief operations and providing the assistance of FEMA, which has more than 3,000 people on the ground.

General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command, said some Florida residents may have been surprised by the rapid growth of the storm. The Carolinas are still reeling from severe flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence less than a month ago.

Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather, such as storms, droughts, floods and fires. More than 40,000 people lost power across the state. A pine tree punched a hole in their roof and his ears even popped when the barometric pressure went lower.

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