Hurricane Michael before and after photos capture utter devastation

James Marshall
October 12, 2018

Michael, the third most powerful hurricane ever to hit the U.S. mainland, weakened overnight to a tropical storm but marched northeast on Thursday, toppling trees with 80kph winds and bringing "life threatening" flash flooding to Georgia and Virginia, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported.

Widespread cell tower and internet outages have been reported along the devastating path of Hurricane Michael, according to the Federal Communications Commission's first report following Wednesday's storm. "But first we need your help, your patience and your understanding that before you return we have to make sure things are safe".

"Drove from Panama City nearly to Mexico Beach and I can tell you this is the worst damage from wind that I have ever seen!" The area is known for its small beach towns, wildlife reserves and the state capital, Tallahassee.

Michael was a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane intensity scale, just shy of a rare Category 5, when it came ashore.

The NHC expects weakening today while the centre of the storm is over land.

As thousands of National Guard troops, law enforcement officers and medical teams fanned out, the Governor pleaded with people in the devastated areas to stay away for now because of fallen trees, power lines and other debris.

As the storm heads over North Carolina and Virginia, heavy rain is forecast with up to nine inches of rain forecast for those two states.

Mr Long said several hospitals in the Panhandle were hit by the hurricane and patients had to be evacuated.

From Florida to Alabama and Georgia to the Carolinas, over 900,000 homes and businesses have lost electricity.

More than 70 percent of cell towers were down in the hardest-hit counties where the storm made landfall, and more than 185,000 cable customers in Florida were without service.

Twenty miles (32km) south of Mexico Beach, floodwaters were more than 7 feet (2.1 meters) deep near Apalachicola, a town of about 2,300 residents, hurricane center chief Ken Graham said.

Down the road, one property featured a garage complete with motorbike, untouched, next to a home that had been splintered to pieces by three huge trees.

With a low barometric pressure recorded at 919 millibars, a measure of a hurricane's force, Michael was the third strongest storm on record to hit the continental United States, behind only Hurricane Camille on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969 and the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 in the Florida Keys.

A day after the Category 4 monster blew ashore along the Panhandle with 155 miles per hour winds, the Coast Guard said it rescued at least 27 people, mostly from homes damaged along the Florida coastline, and searched for more victims.

Michael was also top of mind for President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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