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

First fatality CONFIRMED as Category 4 storm devastates Florida

First fatality CONFIRMED as Category 4 storm devastates Florida

Michael, whose rapid intensification as it churned north over the Gulf of Mexico caught many by surprise, made landfall early in the afternoon near Mexico Beach, about 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Panama City in Florida's Panhandle region, with top sustained winds reaching 155 miles per hour (249 kph). In the D.C. area, its effects are a couple days off and should be limited.

Storm Team 4 meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts said Wednesday that Michael would have a bit more of an impact on the area than it appeared on Tuesday, though a cold front heading across the US would still, in fact, fend off the worst.

Around 30 million people across six states are under a hurricane watch and more than 375,000 people on the coast were told to evacuate, though many have ignored the emergency order.

Florida officials said Michael, packing winds of 250km/h (155mph), was the most powerful storm to hit the state's northern Panhandle area in more than a century. Hurricane Michael moved over some very warm water in the Gulf of Mexico, highly unusual for this time of year (and something that has been attributed to global warming), per The Verge.

States of emergencies have been issued for Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

The Carolinas are still recovering from Hurricane Florence, which left dozens dead and is estimated to have caused billions of dollars in damage last month.

Hours earlier, meteorologists watched satellite imagery in complete awe as the storm intensified. Soon enough, Mexico Beach's emerald waters and white sugar-sand beaches were covered in a dark sea of splintered debris, she said.

"We're going to see a lot of wind damage", Long said, and some residents could expect not to have power restored for weeks.

With a low barometric pressure recorded at 919 millibars, the measure of a hurricane's force, Michael ranked as the third-strongest storm on record to make landfall in the continental United States.

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Twenty miles to the south, floodwaters were more than 7-1/2 feet (2.3 meters) deep near Apalachicola, a town of about 2,300 residents, hurricane center chief Ken Graham said. The hurricane is forecast to hit the Florida Panhandle at a possible category 4 storm.

Storm flooding is still occurring along the Gulf Coast.

Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane expert at Colorado State University, said: "I really fear for what things are going to look like there tomorrow at this time". But without extensive study, they can not directly link a single weather event to the changing climate.

"I am hearing on TV, as all of us go home, it will be like a war zone", she added.

As winds started to topple trees in Tallahassee, one of them landed on Joe Marino's chimney. Hundreds of military families were moved out, and the base's aircraft, which include F-22 Raptors, were flown to safety hundreds of miles away.

The St. Marks River overflows into the city of St. Marks, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

Hargan's 11-year-old son, Jayden, carried one of the family's dogs in a laundry basket in one arm and held a skateboard in the other as he waded through calf-high water.

"I can not disappoint the thousands of people that are there - and the thousands that are going", he tweeted.

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