One dead after Hurricane Michael slams into Florida Panhandle

James Marshall
October 11, 2018

As Michael hit Panama City as a Category 4, storm chaser Dan Robinson caught video of the worst of it.

Hurricane Michael has crashed into the Florida Panhandle with winds up to 250 kilometres per hour and the potential for a devastating storm surge from what was expected to be the worst storm ever recorded in the region.

More than 490,402 people are without power in Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

"It feels like a nightmare", she said."Looking at the pictures, I'm thinking there is not a house left in that town".

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".

An estimated 375,000 people in more than 20 counties were ordered or advised to evacuate.

Florida has issued mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders in at least 22 counties on the Gulf Coast, with Governor Rick Scott urging people yesterday to get out of the way of the "monstrous storm", CNN reported.

Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm as it raced across Georgia late Wednesday night.

Hurricane Michael was barely a hurricane Tuesday morning local time, with winds of 90mph (145km/h).

It said Michael was now a Category 3 storm with winds abating but still extremely risky at 125 miles per hour (205 kph). While eyes in space watch the risky storm from above, cameras on the ground are tracking the hurricane's impending landfall for live internet viewing. "We thought the windows were going to break at any time", Beu said.

"We're going to see a lot of wind damage", Long said, and some residents could expect not to have power restored for weeks.

Megan Williams, left, and roommate Kaylee O'Brian take belongings from their destroyed home after several trees fell on the house during Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Oct. 10, 2018.

"It's going to be disgusting", Thomas told CNN.

As the Tallahassee office of the National Weather Service said on Twitter earlier Wednesday: "If you're not sheltered in place now, you need to be!"

Trump was briefed on the hurricane on Wednesday prior to it making landfall and said he would visit the area early next week.

The death, in an area west of state capital Tallahassee, was the first confirmed since Michael made landfall.

Up to 12 inches of rain could fall in Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend areas, as well as southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia.

"This happened so quickly, we weren't exactly prepared", he said.

Trump declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida, freeing up federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses. Forecasters said it will unleash damaging wind and rain all the way into the Carolinas, still recovering from Hurricane Florence's epic flooding.

Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather, such as storms, droughts, floods and fires. It was the most powerful hurricane on record to hit the Panhandle. Hurricanes form over the Atlantic and North Pacific oceans and cause most damage to the Americas while typhoons form in the Northwest Pacific Ocean, impacting Asia.

The deadliest hurricane on record cost the lives of about 20,000 people, with most of the damage and fatalities occurring in Barbados and surrounding islands.

Hurricane Mitch reportedly killed about 19,000 people. Flash flooding is also expected to be a major concern as the storm continues to push inland.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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