Michael charges into Southeast after slamming north Florida

James Marshall
October 11, 2018

Hurricane Michael has forced thousands of residents to flee their homes.

The storm is not expected to move offshore until Friday, having swept over much of Georgia as a hurricane and then North and SC as a tropical storm. Josh Benson, a news anchor at WFLA, a Tampa Bay news station, shared a video taken by Tessa Talarico in Mexico Beach that showed the extreme flooding.

A day after the supercharged storm crashed ashore amid white sand beaches, fishing towns and military bases, Michael was no longer a Category 4 monster packing 155 miles per hour (250 kph) winds. It was the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S.in almost 50 years and at least one death was reported during its passage.

The stunning scope of Hurricane Michael's rampage started coming into focus Thursday, as dawn in Panama City, Florida revealed a sprawling mess of nearly unimaginable devastation wrought by the third-most powerful hurricane in recorded history to lash the USA mainland.

'Continuous lightning is present on the forward edge of the eyewall, and lightning detection on the rear edge rotate with specific sections of the eye'.

"While we will not see the full force of Hurricane Michael the way Florida will, we could see gusty winds, rain, flash flooding and even tornadoes", South Carolina Emergency Management Director Kim Stenson told CNN affiliate WACH. Beachfront structures could be seen collapsing and metal roofing materials were blown away amid the heavy rain. The Category 4 storm intensified as it made landfall in the area, causing homes to be completely wiped out from flood waters. On Twitter, the National Weather Service said, in all caps, "THIS IS A WORST CASE SCENARIO".

As the storm moved northward, it tore through Panama City.

Mexico Beach is a small tourist town toward the center of Florida's panhandle.

Waves crash on stilt houses along the shore due to Hurricane Michael at Alligator Point in Franklin County, Florida, U.S., October 10, 2018.

Sally Crown rode out Michael on the Florida Panhandle thinking at first that the worst damage was the many trees downed in her yard. That sort of timetable can make evacuations more hard to manage.

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 historical record, going back to 1851, finds no Category-4 hurricane ever hitting the Florida Panhandle". As of early Thursday morning, the storm is about 30 miles west of Augusta, Georgia, and is heading toward the northeast before it goes off into the Atlantic. Michael is the fourth Category 4 hurricane to hit the U.S.in just 15 months, joining last year's trio of Harvey, Irma, and Maria - an unprecedented string of catastrophic hurricane disasters.

The hurricane, the fiercest to hit Florida in 80 years, pummeled communities across the Panhandle and turned streets into roof-high waterways.

President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for all of Florida on Wednesday.

Many flights were canceled in the hurricane zone, and Amtrak changed some train schedules to protect passengers and employees. More than 40,000 people lost power across the state.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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