Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Hurricane Michael Photos Show 'Monstrous' Storm Surge Pummeling Florida Panhandle

Mitchell Pope tries to salvage what he can from his mobile home on Oct. 10 in Saint Marks Mark Wallheiser via Getty Images Mitchell Pope tries to salvage what he can from his mobile home on Oct. 10 in Saint Marks
Frank Williams | 11 October, 2018, 17:26

Hurricane Michael is already causing damage in north Florida before making landfall. In the D.C. area, its effects are a few days off and should be limited.

An official with an emergency management agency said Tropical Storm Michael is responsible for a child's death in Georgia.

On Wednesday, she called for showers Thursday morning for most of the area, with rain increasing over the rest of the day and totaling 1 to 2 inches, with more south and east of D.C. The storm's maximum sustained winds have decreased to 50 miles per hour (80 kph) and it was moving to the northeast at 21 miles per hour (33 kph).

Parts of the Florida Panhandle are expected to see rain between 100 and 200 millimetres but local amounts there may exceed 300 millimetres in some areas, with hurricane-force winds and a storm surge of up to four metres.

Michael has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it slams Georgia with heavy rain and unsafe winds and heads toward the storm-weary Carolinas.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the core of Michael will move across central and eastern Georgia Thursday morning, and then over southern and central SC later in the day.

Michael, which had caught many by surprise with its rapid intensification as it churned north over the Gulf of Mexico, was the most powerful storm ever recorded to hit the Panhandle.

Long, the head of FEMA, said many Florida buildings were not built to withstand a storm above the strength of a Category 3 hurricane on the five-level Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. A National Ocean Service water level station at Apalachicola recently reported almost 5.5 feet of inundation above ground level. Emergency managers say they don't know how many left the area, but there were about 6000 people in 80 shelters in five states, including almost 1200 who are still in shelters following Hurricane Florence.

Measured in this way the lower the pressure the stronger the hurricane - Michael was the most powerful since Hurricane Camille in 1969.

"Storm surge estimates are anywhere between nine and 14 feet". The roar from the hurricane sounded like an airplane taking off. "We didn't think it was going to be this bad".

One dead as monstrous Hurricane Michael tears into Florida
As of around 8pm, Michael was about 20 miles southwest of Albany, Georgia, with winds of 100 mph, becoming a category 1 storm . It appeared to be so powerful that it was expected to remain a hurricane as it moved into Alabama and Georgia early Thursday.

Hours earlier, meteorologists watched satellite imagery in complete awe as the storm intensified.

"We are in new territory", National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook.

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.

While we might not get more storms in a warmer climate, most studies show storms will get stronger and produce more rain.

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

As winds started to topple trees in Tallahassee, one of them landed on Joe Marino's chimney.

"I wanted to let you guys know exactly what is going on", she said, speaking about a curfew that had been instituted in nearby Bay County because of concerns about looting from the outages.

Michael inflicted damage to Panama City unevenly, impaling some businesses with sign poles while leaving others virtually unscathed.

In St. Marks, John Hargan and his family gathered up their pets and moved to a raised building constructed to withstand a Category 5 after water from the St. Marks River began surrounding their home.

"We basically just walked away from everything and said goodbye to it", he said, tears welling up.

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