Sunday, 09 December, 2018

'Worst on record': Hurricane Michael slams Florida with winds up to 250kmh

S Hurricane Michael drenches Florida Panhandle S Hurricane Michael drenches Florida Panhandle
Sandy Nunez | 11 October, 2018, 14:43

A structure in Panama City Beach was no match for Michael's winds, as the home under construction collapsed an hour prior to the Category 4 storm's eyewall coming ashore. They said Michael could be the strongest hurricane to hit that stretch of coastline in 13 years.

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

Meteorologists said it had the potential to become one of the worst storms in the history of the region as they watched satellite imagery in complete awe while the storm intensified.

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. A cold front passing through Thursday night will draw up some tropical moisture from Michael and a band of downpours will pass through between 6 p.m. and Midnight.

Human-caused greenhouse gases in the atmosphere create an energy imbalance, with more than 90% of remaining heat trapped by the gases going into the oceans, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association.

After a few areas of light showers this evening, more rain and damaging winds are on the way to Middle Georgia as Michael makes landfall and quickly moves inland.

Bo Patterson, the mayor of Port St Joe, just south of Mexico Beach, rode out the storm in his house seven blocks from the beach, describing the scene outside as "very, very scary".

"We expect Michael to make landfall near Panama City, Florida, Wednesday midday or early afternoon", AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said.

At least two people, including a girl killed by a falling tree, have died as a result of Michael, according to reports.

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Residents of Georgia and Alabama have been hit with power blackouts after the hurricane crossed into the southeastern part of the states. More than 1,000 state forestry and wildlife officers were prepared for search-and-rescue operations, Scott said. This risk will spread northward into parts of Georgia and southern SC this afternoon and tonight.

"We are in new territory", National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook.

Powerful winds, devastating storm surge and heavy rain are predicted in the Florida Panhandle, the finger-shaped strip of land along the Gulf of Mexico.

At least 388,000 utility customers lost power as Hurricane Michael crashed ashore -- with potentially catastrophic winds of 155 miles per hour -- between Panama City and St. Vincent Island, before speeding north into Alabama and Georgia on Wednesday.

Michael's minimum central pressure - a key measure of hurricane strength - was measured at 919 millibars when it made landfall. Classified as a Category 5 - the highest ranking on the Saffir-Simpson scale - the greatest number of fatalities was in Honduras where severe rainfall led to mud slides and flooding.

Television news footage during the day showed many homes submerged in floodwaters up to their roofs in Mexico Beach, where the fate of about 280 residents who authorities said defied evacuation orders was unknown.

Measured in this way the lower the pressure the stronger the hurricane - Michael was the most powerful since Hurricane Camille in 1969.

The storm knocked the broadcast of Panama City-based WMBB off the air after the television station lost power, one of more than 263,000 customers experiencing blackouts in Florida.