Hurricane Michael rips through Florida's Panhandle

Hurricane Michael now Category 4, expected to do ‘catastrophic’ damage to Florida Gulf Coast

Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, called the town "ground zero" for the hurricane damage.

Mexico Beach, Florida, is not just destroyed.

"We don't know where she's at", he said.

Now, having weakened to a tropical storm, Michael was on its way to the Carolinas. He said 110,000 residences and businesses were without power Thursday, morning, representing about 90 percent of the customers served by the city's electric service.

Hurricane Michael left a trail of devastation along a huge swathe of the Florida Panhandle. Among those brought to safety were nine people rescued by helicopter from a bathroom of their Panama City home after their roof collapsed.

Crews were out early Thursday searching for more victims.

"This is a nightmare hurricane for the Big Bend", said Ryan Truchelut, chief meteorologist at WeatherTiger.

The official said that after Hurricane Irma in September 2017, a field hospital was required in the Florida Keys for a year, and similar situations may be required with Michael. They are posting information about recovery efforts, road and bridge openings and the status of evactuaion orders on FloridaDisaster.org. The U.S. Coast Guard ran 10 rescue missions into the region Wednesday night.

"It's historic, it's extremely life-threatening", said Kenneth Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center, said. The agency said the storm's steady intensification over the past two days despite shifting westerly winds defies traditional logic. Four pine trees had crashed through the roof of her apartment, almost hitting two people. As flooding gets worse and worse, more dots will turn blue. But he said the sheriff told him it looked like a bomb had gone off.

Sitting outside his home, reading a magazine, less than 100 yards from the water's edge in Wynnehaven, he knows Hurricane Michael is now due to make landfall 50 or 60 miles to his east.

Morning light Thursday offered a fresh look at the devastation that Hurricane Michael brought to Florida's Panhandle, where hundreds of thousands of people lost power and communities were devastated by the storm's intense winds and coastal floods.

On its current track, the core of Michael is expected to move northeastward across the southeastern USA on Wednesday night and Thursday, and then move off the Mid-Atlantic coast away from the United States on Friday.

China Tells the USA to Stop Criticizing Beijing's Policies
We believe this has been a direct attack on our mutual trust, and has cast a shadow on China-US relations. Pompeo hit back, saying the United States has "great concerns about the actions that China has taken".

Additional strengthening is projected over the next twenty-four hours, with Michael "forecast to be a major hurricane at landfall in Florida".

It warned of a life-threatening storm surge, hurricane force winds and heavy rainfall along the north-eastern Gulf coast.

The Tampa Bay Times is collecting water height data from across the state in real-time. The base had been evacuated before the storm and no injuries were reported.

A landscape that once drew vacationers to secluded beaches was littered with refrigerators, toilets and staircases no longer connected to houses. He rode out the storm because he didn't think it was going to be so bad. One couple was looking for their mother's portable oxygen machine.

Elmore said the road is closed west of Tallahassee, between mile marker 85 near DeFuniak Springs and mile marker 166 near Lake Seminole.

The storm was on track to make an expected exit into the Atlantic Ocean by Friday morning, with some parts of Virginia and North Carolina expected to see as much as nine inches of rain, bringing the likelihood for risky flooding. It is moving north (350 degrees) at around 12 miles per hour, packing maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour.

Storm surges of between nine and thirteen feet are now projected for the gulf coast between Mexico Beach, Florida (just south of Panama City on the Panhandle) and Keaton Beach on Florida's Big Bend. The hurricane was moving north at 12 miles per hour.

Hurricane Michael's battering waves swamped streets and docks and shrieking winds splintered trees and rooftops.

At landfall, it was almost a Category 5 storm that smashed records as the strongest ever to roar onto the state's exposed Panhandle.

Authorities say at least one person died, a man hit by a falling tree on a Panhandle home.

The storm's rapid intensification over the past two days, despite shifting winds, "defies traditional logic", according to hurricane forecasters.

High winds and heavy rains lashed the coast.

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