Hurricane Michael leads to unimaginable destruction: 17 chilling photos

Jo Lloyd
October 11, 2018

Florida suffered "unimaginable destruction" as it was hit by one of the strongest hurricanes ever to have made landfall in the U.S., the state's governor said. Some forecasters said that Michael was likely the strongest hurricane to hit the Florida Panhandle in recorded history, and meanwhile, it was one of the strongest storms to hit the United States in history.

In South Carolina, emergency management officials were continuing to monitor to the storm in anticipation of "heavy rain, gusty winds, possible tornadoes" and other hazards.

ABC News meteorologist Ginger Zee saw a devastating storm surge in Mexico Beach, Florida, topple a house from its foundation. "We have trees being uprooted, heavy, heavy rain".

The winds were strong enough to pierce the windshield of a auto in Panama City Beach.

- Storm riders: Roughly 375,000 people in Florida warned to evacuate; many refused, including 285 people in Mexico Beach where Michael made landfall.

"Water will come miles in shore and could easily rise over the roofs of houses", he said. "However, I don't think I'm in a position to say - one way or the other - whether global warming played an important role in Michael's rapid intensification", he cautioned.

"The entire county was "pitch black" and there were no clear roads", he said.

"We've been through this before", she said.

"It's historic, it's extremely life-threatening", said Kenneth Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center, said. "There was a tree involved".

One death has been confirmed in the state.

It will take some time for residents of north Florida to take stock of the enormity of the disaster.

The Category 4 storm barreled into the Florida coast this week.

Red Cross officials said they expect shelter population to swell to 20,000 by Thursday or Friday.

More than 180,000 people of those leaving were under mandatory evacuation orders, the long lines of cars jamming routes out Tuesday.

At an election rally in Pennsylvania on Wednesday night, Trump offered his "thoughts and prayers" to those in the path of the storm and said he would visit Florida soon.

"The ragged but raging remains of Hurricane Michael" were in North Carolina on Thursday morning, the state's governor, Roy Cooper, said.

In Apalachicola about 35 miles to the southeast and just inside the perimeter for hurricane winds, a tidal gauge recorded water at 8.55 feet before 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Michael roared ashore Wednesday as a powerful Category 4 hurricane near Mexico Beach, rendering the city almost unrecognizable.

More than 370,000 people in Florida have been ordered to evacuate and move to higher ground.

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee said a hurricane "of this strength has NEVER made landfall in this region and thus this is an event that will have unprecedented impacts".

"Hurricane Michael is an unprecedented event and can not be compared to any of our previous events".

"This morning, Florida's Gulf Coast and Panhandle and the Big Bend are waking up to unimaginable destruction", Gov. Rick Scott told The Associated Press.

3,000: Number of personnel the Federal Emergency Management Agency deployed ahead of landfall. Though most homes were still standing, no property was left undamaged.

As of 10 a.m., the hurricane watch for the coast of Alabama was discontinued.

A year ago saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Harvey, which caused a record-equaling $125 billion in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area.

People in the crosshairs had to make last-minute preparations for the monstrous storm's arrival - and for how to cope in its aftermath.

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