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

Hurricane Michael: everything you need to know on the record-breaking storm

Hurricane Michael: everything you need to know on the record-breaking storm

The storm made landfall on the Florida Panhandle Wednesday afternoon as one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the U.S. The intense Category 4 hurricane was packing maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour when it crashed ashore near Mexico Beach, a lightly populated tourist town about midway along the Panhandle.

On Monday, NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument captured Michael while still a Category 1.

By 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT) Thursday it had been downgraded to a tropical storm with 50-mph (85-kph) winds as it pushed through Georgia into the Carolinas, the National Hurricane Center said.

"We expect Hurricane Michael to make landfall near Panama City, Florida, Wednesday midday or early afternoon", according to AccuWeather forecaster Dan Kottlowski.

The University of Georgia's Marshall Shepherd, a former president of the American Meteorological Society, called it a "life-altering event", writing on Facebook that he watched the storm's growth on satellite images with a pit in his stomach.

Sergeant Anglie Hightower of the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office told local television that the storm left four people dead in the Florida Panhandle county.

Smith could not provide details on the victim.

Long said several hospitals in the Panhandle were hit by the hurricane and patients had to be evacuated.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida's Democratic nominee for governor, filled sandbags with residents and urged residents of the state capital city to finish up emergency preparations quickly.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for.

"Where that becomes a factor is with the evacuation of some of the local populations", he said.

Hurricane Michael is tracking closer to land, but when will it hit Florida?

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Then, it will "move northeastward across the southeastern United States Wednesday night and Thursday, and move off the Mid-Atlantic coast away from the United States on Friday", the NHC said.

With the storm next entering the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico, which has warm water and favorable atmospheric conditions, "there is a real possibility that Michael will strengthen to a major hurricane before landfall, " Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the Miami-based storm forecasting hub, wrote in an advisory.

Below are 15 images that personify the aftermath of the Category 4 storm, which blew ashore along the Panhandle packing 155 miles per hour winds.

A number mandatory evacuations have been ordered in Florida counties ahead of Michael.

More than 300 miles of coastline are now under threat, the National Weather Service has said. "Don't think that you can ride this out if you're in a low-lying area, " Nelson said on CNN.

Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Hurricane Harvey (2017) share top billing as the most costly U.S. storms, both weighing in at $125bn, the NHC says.

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

Tens of thousands of Floridians were warned on Tuesday to get out of harm's way as Hurricane Michael churned over the Gulf of Mexico toward the northwestern part of the state, bringing fierce winds, torrential rain and life-threatening coastal floods.

How many people have died?

As the storm closed in on the USA, it caused havoc in the Caribbean.

On its current track, it would make landfall somewhere along a coastline that includes the cities and towns of Fort Walton Beach, Panama City Beach, Port St. Joe, St. Teresa and the wildlife reserves bordering Apalachee Bay.

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