Hurricane Michael Decimates Florida Panhandle, Kills at Least One

Olive Hawkins
October 11, 2018

Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday as a Category 4 storm with winds of 155 miles per hour, destroying buildings and leaving some structures fully submerged in water.

Rick Reichmuth, Fox News' chief meteorologist, said Michael was the fourth most powerful storm to ever make landfall in the U.S.in terms of wind, and the third most powerful in terms of pressure, at 919 mb.

The National Weather Service says tornadoes are possible across the Florida Panhandle, southeast Georgia and southern SC through Thursday morning as the hurricane now moves inland.

"Oh my God, what are we seeing?" said evacuee Rachel Franklin, her mouth hanging open.

As winds subsided in Panama City, resident Reid Garrett said his concerns shifted to flooding outside his apartment complex, which surrounded by downed trees. It moved so fast that people didn't have much time to prepare, and emergency authorities lamented that many ignored the warnings and seemed to think they could ride it out.

Hundreds of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate their homes and the governor told residents that if they have not already done so it was now too late.

The storm continued on its destructive path, bringing heavy rains and tearing down trees.

For a state that is often struck by hurricanes, Michael is the first Cat.

Hurricane Michael is closing in on the Florida Panhandle with potentially catastrophic winds of 150 miles per hour.

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Reporter Peyton LoCicero went on Periscope, an app that allows people to live stream to a public audience from a cellphone, to give updates about the storm. "It was weird. We went outside and you could smell the pine, and there it was, laying on the chimney". Beachfront structures could be seen collapsing and metal roofing materials were blown away amid the heavy rain.

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

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

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!" Search and rescue crews were expected to escalate efforts to reach hardest-hit areas and check for anyone trapped or injured in the storm debris. "Things happen to even the most experienced chasers", said Rachael Adair.

A state of emergency has been declared in several dozen counties along Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend regions.

President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration for Florida, freeing up federal funds for relief operations and providing the assistance of FEMA, which has more than 3,000 people on the ground.

Following is a list of the world's five most deadly hurricanes.

The hurricane center's Graham said Michael represented a "textbook case" of a hurricane system growing stronger as it drew near shore, in contrast to Hurricane Florence, which struck North Carolina last month after weakening in a slow, halting approach. 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.

In all, more than 400 people died in Florida. The hurricane hit the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm.

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