Hurricane Michael crashes into Florida Panhandle

Hurricane Michael to hit Florida, but will there be any Maine impact?

Hurricane Michael to hit Florida, but will there be any Maine impact?

He said they were waiting to be called in to help in Bay County, but the storm had destroyed communications and he had been unsuccessful in reaching anyone there. The strongest storm to hit the continental U.S. since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Michael dashed homes into pieces, swallowed marinas and left piles of rubble where shopping centers once stood. There appeared to be a swath of significant damage that stretched from the coast to areas well inland, with Michael's winds snapping trees, toppling power lines and in some cases obliterating homes. Forecasters said it will unleash damaging winds and rain all the way into the Carolinas, which are still recovering from hurricane Florence's epic flooding. In nearby Panama City, homes were shredded and boats tossed.

With the hurricane still pounding the state hours after it came ashore, and conditions too unsafe in places for search-and-rescue teams to go out, there were no immediate reports of any deaths or serious injuries.

Mandatory evacuation orders went into effect in Panama City Beach and other low-lying areas in the storm's path. Nearby Liberty County had 81 percent of accounts without power, the state reported.

The city could face hurricane-force winds of up to 100 miles per hour - enough to knock down a lot of trees and power lines, Accuweather meteorologist Brett Rathbun warned. "Heck yeah. Am I leaving? No".

Deadly storm surges are expected. Officials were still trying to determine damage on barrier islands, including St. George Island, which has a state park, a small central business district and a gated community of luxury homes.

Wind gusts blew out windows in homes and office buildings, including the First Federal Bank. The core is expected to move through those states this evening.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency on Tuesday for 92 counties in his state.

The storm is likely to fire up the debate over global warming.

Michael seemed to have caught everyone off guard, from meteorologists who study tropical cyclones to the longtime residents who chose to hunker down rather than evacuate.

Michael's leading edge careened onto northwest Florida's white-sand beaches as a still-growing Category 4 hurricane Wednesday, lashing the coast with tropical storm-force winds and rain and pushing a storm surge that could cause catastrophic damage well inland once it makes landfall.

"Hurricane Michael is forecast to be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in a century", Governor Rick Scott said.

As it came ashore, Michael was just shy of a Category 5 - defined as a storm packing top sustained wind speeds of 157 miles per hour or above. They were the 1935 Labor Day storm (892mb) that struck the Florida Keys, and Hurricane Camille (900mb), which killed hundreds when it hit coastal MS in 1969. It intensified extremely quickly. "It's a rush to get things together". He said the storm "grew into a monster". "Do not risk your life, leave NOW if you were told to do so", it said.

A man watches the sun set during Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach, Florida, U.S. October 10, 2018. The storm rolled to the northeast, sideswiping the state capital, Tallahassee.

"This situation has NEVER happened before", it said on Twitter.

Only a skeleton staff remained at Tyndall Air Force Base, situated on a peninsula just south of Panama City.

She said the incident was "debris-related". Ranked as a Category 4, the disaster ruined the town's commercial industry and its status as a major port whilst claiming the lives of up to 12,000 inhabitants.

But it is not a heavily populated area.

By late Wednesday, the storm had moved toward Georgia.

Sheriff A.J. Smith in Franklin County, near the vulnerable coast, sent his deputies door to door urging people to evacuate. A quarter of a million homes and businesses already were without power, and the number was rising rapidly.

"We will be in for a long-term sheltering mission", he said.

Mr Scott warned it was a "monstrous hurricane", while his Democratic opponent for the Senate, Bill Nelson, said a "wall of water" could cause destruction along the Panhandle. The storm weakened when it hit land but retained hurricane-force winds.

Hurricane Michael started whipping up large swell in the Florida's Panhandle region. "It's going to have hurricane impacts well into Georgia", said Jeff Byard, FEMA's associate administrator for response and recovery.

Smith said the situation was unsafe even for emergency personnel.

"We'll be able to handle another storm if it hits next week", Byard said, adding that he hopes he hasn't jinxed the region.

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