Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Destructive Hurricane Michael onshore, approaching Southern Georgia

Destructive Hurricane Michael onshore, approaching Southern Georgia

A month after Hurricane Florence's epic deluge, SC officials are more concerned about tornadoes than flooding from Michael. It looks more like the popular spring break spot is getting bombed than hit by a storm.

- The third-most powerful hurricane to hit the US mainland in recorded history left a wide path of destruction, destroying homes and shopping centers and felling trees that killed at least two people in Florida and Georgia. The storm had top sustained winds of 60 miles per hour (96 kph) and was moving to the northeast at 20 miles per hour (32 kph).

"Panama City, I don't know if there will be much left".

The wind speed - almost the highest possible for a Category 4 hurricane - with which Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach and Panama City. A unsafe storm surge continued along the coastal Florida panhandle; a National Ocean Service station in Apalachicola was reporting 5 feet of water above the ground level.

Addressing the media at the state Emergency Operations Center Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Rick Scott said a "massive wave of response" was already underway from the state, utilities and the U.S. Coast Guard, for the storm that "came really fast".

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

Briefing President Donald Trump at the White House, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) chief Brock Long said Michael was the most intense hurricane to strike the Florida Panhandle since 1851.

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As it approaches the Florida panhandle, Hurricane Michael has intensified into a Category 4 hurricane.

"Northwest Florida has never encountered a storm of this magnitude", Rogers said in a release.

Catastrophe risk modelling and analysis firm Corelogic has just released an estimate of the insured losses from storm surge and hurricane force winds, which is based on the landfall factors hence this is not a post-landfall estimate of industry losses. More than 40,000 people lost power across the state.

12 inches: The isolated maximum amount of rain that Michael is forecast to dump across the Florida Panhandle and the state's Big Bend region, as well as in southeast Alabama and parts of southwest and central Georgia. He has covered hurricanes in the state for decades.

Many homes were ripped apart or washed away altogether in Mexico Beach, a town of 1,000 where the hurricane made landfall and the storm surge pushed lead-grey water up to the rooftops.

And tornado warnings radiated out into counties near the hurricane's path in Georgia on Tuesday evening, after reports of at least two that had formed in Florida.

Past year 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. More than 380,000 homes and businesses were without power at the height of the storm.

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