Two, including a child, killed in Hurricane Michael; Florida witnesses 'worst' storm

Two, including a child, killed in Hurricane Michael; Florida witnesses 'worst' storm

The storm made landfall near Mexico Beach, with wind speeds reaching 155 miles per hour (249 kph) - just shy of a Category 5 hurricane. The Category 4 storm intensified as it made landfall in the area, causing homes to be completely wiped out from flood waters. Uprooted trees. Piles of rubble and debris everywhere.

Farther inland, Tallahassee city officials were grappling with wind damage that had brought down numerous city's trees, blocking streets and knocking out power.

The storm's rapid intensification over the past two days, despite shifting winds, "defies traditional logic", according to hurricane forecasters.

Brock Long, administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, warned that the brutal storm would "stay intact" as a hurricane as it roars through the Florida Panhandle and parts of Alabama and Georgia.

"Along our coast, communities are going to see unimaginable devastation", Scott said, with storm surge posing the greatest danger.

"When the water came in houses started floating", said the man identified as Scott.

In addition, Gillum said the storm knocked out one of the city's sewage systems, including the backup power source. It reached its zenith just around 2 p.m., when Michael, with its 155 miles per hour winds, breached the Panhandle coastline, a region known as a spring break destination, a military hotbed and one the last vestiges of Floridas struggling fishing industry.

"The entire county was "pitch black" and there were no clear roads", he said.

"I've already lost one house to a hurricane, and I'm scared to death of this one", she said. "There was a tree involved".

After 1950, 4 major hurricanes came ashore in Panhandle: "Eloise" in 1975, Opal in 1995, Dennis in 2005, and in 2018 - "Michael".

The Gulf of Mexico gave Michael exactly what it needed to bulk up into a monster: The water was 4 to 5 degrees F (2.2 to 2.8 degrees C) warmer than normal, and high-atmosphere winds that can disrupt a hurricane were quiet.

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Despite the warnings, local officials believe a far smaller number of people have in fact moved away. Coastal counties began issuing evacuation orders and opening emergency shelters at schools on Sunday, as member station WFSU reports.

People in the crosshairs had to make last-minute preparations for the monstrous storm's arrival - and for how to cope in its aftermath.

After initially maintaining hurricane strength while barreling inland through Georgia, Michael had weakened to tropic storm status by Thursday morning while churning northeast over SC with maximum winds of 50 miles per hour.

More than 370,000 people in Florida have been ordered to evacuate and move to higher ground.

Peaton says he is working closely with the National Weather Service to provide accurate information and protective measures to his county, which faces the Gulf of Mexico and is especially vulnerable to any flooding produced by Michael.

Hurricane Michael, the most powerful hurricane on record to hit Floridas Panhandle, left behind a remarkable wake of destruction during its swift pass through the state Wednesday.

Whatever the changes wrought by climate change turn out to be, Dessler said, "Bad things are going to happen".

State officials issued disaster declarations in Alabama and Georgia and the storm is also expected to bring heavy rainfall to North and SC. "Hopefully more people will leave".

As thousands of first responders and 3,500 National Guard descended upon Floridas Gulf Coast, many across Florida and beyond are left asking: What is the states plan?

A year ago 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. There have only been a half-dozen storms that struck the United States with lower barometric pressure, the most recent being Katrina, Andrew and Camille - and all six "were devastating storms", Klotzbach said.

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