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Updates, tracking resources as storm makes landfall

Updates, tracking resources as storm makes landfall

The powerful storm made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane and ripped through the Florida Panhandle with 155 miles per hour winds and 12-foot waves that left a trail of destruction in its wake.

"Hurricane Michael is the worst storm that the Florida Panhandle has ever seen, and one of the worst power storms to ever make landfall in the United States", Scott said at the press conference.

The Suwannee Valley is expected to experience sustained 40-50 miles per hour winds with gusts up to 75 miles per hour.

Brock Long, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said many Florida buildings were not built to withstand a storm above the strength of a Category 3 hurricane.

She could not say what time the death occurred or give any details about the victim.

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

Hurricane Mitch reportedly killed about 19,000 people.

"It feels like you don't know when the next tree is going to fall on top of you because its blowing so ferociously", said Port St. Joe Mayor Bo Patterson.

At the White House, President Donald Trump said, "God bless everyone because it's going to be a rough one", he said. It's very, very scary.

Michael battered the shoreline with sideways rain, powerful gusts and crashing waves, swamping streets and docks, flattening trees, stripped away leaves, shredding awnings and peeling away shingles.

The fate of about 280 residents who authorities said defied evacuation orders was unknown.

"This situation has NEVER happened before", it said on Twitter. Only the 1935 storm and Camille had lower pressures, Mr. Klotzbach said.

More news: Australia Will Keep Burning Coal To Produce Electricity Despite Stern IPCC Warning

Michael began dashing homes into pieces and flooding neighborhoods shortly after crossing near Mexico Beach as a Category 4 storm.

"Satellite images of Michael's evolution on Tuesday night were, in a word, jaw-dropping", wrote Bob Henson, a meteorologist with weather site Weather Underground.

The storm could drive sea water levels as high as 4.3 metres above normal in some areas, the National Hurricane Centre said. "It was weird. We went outside and you could smell the pine, and there it was, laying on the chimney".

National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen added: "We are in new territory".

But Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross said on Wednesday as many as 320,000 people on Florida's Gulf Coast had disregarded evacuation notices.

Trump declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida, freeing up federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses. He was briefed by FEMA's Long in the Oval Office on preparations.

More than 380,000 homes and businesses were without power at the height of the storm. Some 17,000 utility restoration workers were also on call.

It appeared to be so powerful that it was expected to remain a hurricane as it moved into Alabama and Georgia early Thursday.

At the Panama City news station WJHG/WECP, reporter Tyler Allender tweeted that his colleagues were taking shelter in a hallway in the middle of the building because "this wind is SERIOUS".

"We just finished renovating and updating", she said. "We're kind of nervous". The Carolinas are still reeling from severe flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence less than a month ago.

Widespread power outages are expected to stretch from parts of the Florida panhandle up through Georgia as well as the Carolinas, but anyone within reach of the storm's rapid winds should be prepared to be without power at some point over the next few days.

The NWS said it had found no record of any previous Category 4 hurricanes that made landfall in the Panhandle or the "Big Bend" coastal region.


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