Hurricane Michael slams into Florida, charges into Southeast

Jo Lloyd
October 11, 2018

Michael made landfall around 1:00 pm Eastern time (1700 GMT) near Mexico Beach, a resort town about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Panama City on the Florida Panhandle, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Hurricane Michael made landfall as a Category 4 storm after rapidly strengthening winds hit speeds of over 150 miles per hour (240 km/h).

Are you affected by Hurricane Michael? Roofs were peeled away, sent airborne, and homes were split open by fallen trees. As of Thursday morning, more than 359,300 customers were without power in Florida.

Uprooted trees, downed power poles and limited access to communications have become challenges for first responders and families trying to reach residents in need.

Gov. Rick Scott announced afterward that thousands of law enforcement officers, utility crews and search and rescue teams would now go into recovery mode.

"It's very hard to explain", said Jason Gunderson, a member of the Cajun Navy rescue group.

The Gadsden County Sheriff's office said that a man was found dead in his home in a small town outside of Tallahassee after a tree crashed through the roof. "If the house and the cars are destroyed they can be replaced, but my niece needs her dad - and as much as I sometimes can't stand him, I would do anything to just know he's OK".

Corelogic noted the compact nature of hurricane Michael, which will have limited the size of the swathe of damage on landfall, but the storm surge has impacted a wide area from Mobile, AL to Tampa, FL, with the maximum storm surge anticipated to be east of Panama City to coastal cities south of Tallahassee, the firm said.

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.

Officials at the Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City said dozens of trees and power lines went down, and several buildings lost their roofs across the military base. Later they were even higher, reaching 155 - just 2 miles per hour short of Category 5 strength - by landfall. Michael did this after passing over unusually warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, which likely helped to increase the storm's moisture content and provide fuel for more intense thunderstorms, a deeper central pressure, and stronger winds.

"You can not hide from storm surge". This drone video of shows the destruction at the school.

"Heavy rain associated with Tropical Storm Michael will continue into this afternoon, tapering off as the storm moves east", the National Weather Service said.

However, once it moves over the Atlantic late tonight or early Friday the storm will once again intensify.

"We are in new territory", National Hurricane Center (NHC) Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook. In recorded history, a storm of this intensity has never happened in the Florida Panhandle.

Trump, who is expected to visit the region as early as Sunday, said he would be "totally focused" on the storm but would not cancel a Wednesday night campaign rally in Pennsylvania.

"We are anxious about the damage once we see sunrise", he said. "She's my baby", O'Brien said, her face wet with tears.

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