Monday, 10 December, 2018

One dead as monstrous Hurricane Michael tears into Florida

Early Wednesday morning track of Michael NOAA Early Wednesday morning track of Michael
Frank Williams | 11 October, 2018, 12:50

As of around 8pm, Michael was about 20 miles southwest of Albany, Georgia, with winds of 100 mph, becoming a category 1 storm.

Now a tropical storm, Michael is the most powerful storm ever to hit Florida's Panhandle; senior correspondent Rick Leventhal reports from Panama City Beach.

"There are warnings for more than 300 miles (480km) of coastline", the National Weather Service tweeted, predicting that Michael would become a "large and unsafe hurricane".

As it approaches the Florida panhandle, Hurricane Michael has intensified into a Category 4 hurricane.

But many people living in counties farther east in North Central Florida were spared.

Before the sun went down and the skies turned midnight blue, those in the path of Hurricane Michael shared glimpses of what some say is the worst hurricane damage they've seen.

Once the storm passes they'll send crews out to take a look at the damage and from there begin restoring lines and poles.

There is "one hurricane-related fatality", said Olivia Smith, public information officer for the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners, adding that the incident was "debris-related".

About 3,500 Florida National Guard troops were deployed to assist with evacuations and storm recovery, along with more than 1,000 search-and-rescue personnel, Scott said. We thought the windows were going to break at any time.

Moving north-northeast at 16 miles per hour, the center of Michael, with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, reached southeastern Alabama and southwest Georgia by 5 p.m.

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Michael has now weakened to a tropical storm over south-central Georgia but is forecast to dump torrential rain over Florida, Alabama and Georgia, as well as the Carolinas and into Virginia.

According to Florida Power and Light, roughly 400 customers in Columbia County were without power after Michael made landfall, but power was restored within an hour. The hurricane's winds and waves were so strong, their rumblings were detected on seismometers - equipment created to measure earthquakes.

"We're seeing up to nine feet of inundation in parts of Apalachicola, Florida, and that wasn't even where Michael made landfall".

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

Never in recorded weather history has a hurricane hit the mainland United States at such a speed in October, the month marking the end of the June to November hurricane season. But the fast-moving, fast-strengthening storm didn't give people much time to prepare, and emergency authorities lamented that many ignored the warnings and seemed to think they could ride it out.

"Upwards of 8- to 12-foot storm surge is expected, so there could be some significant low-lying flooding in coastal areas", said National Weather Liaison Ken Widelski.

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

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.

Characterized by strong winds and heavy rainfall, the hurricane of 1930 caused severe damage to the Dominican Republic.

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