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

5pm ET Tuesday forecast track for Hurricane Michael

Michael came ashore with winds just under a Category 5 storm.

Hurricane Michael, the most powerful on record to hit the Florida Panhandle since 1851, is tracking north toward Georgia and the Carolinas and bringing unsafe storm surges and flooding.

Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama issued a state-wide state of emergency on Monday "in anticipation of wide-spread power outages, wind damage, and debris produced by high winds and heavy rain associated with Hurricane Michael".

"I'm anxious about my daughter and grandbaby".

Multiple airports were closed on Wednesday, including Tallahassee International Airport, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, Pensacola International Airport and Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport.

Patterson said about 2,500 of the town's 3,500 people were still there, including about 100 in a beachside area who ignored a mandatory evacuation order.

Michael has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it continues slamming Georgia with heavy rain and unsafe winds.

A NOAA satellite caught this view of Hurricane Michael approaching Florida.

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The "potentially catastrophic" storm has sustained winds of 145mph, the National Hurricane Center said in its latest update. 4 storm to hit the Florida Panhandle (in records dating back to 1851.) The storm started off as a tropical depression the weekend before, and had reached Category 2 strength just a day before it hit landfall. Preliminary reports indicate the child, who authorities believe was 11 years old, died when something fell on a home but authorities have not been able to get to the home yet, said Travis Brooks, the county's emergency management director.

The National Hurricane Center forecasted that a few areas could see up to a foot of rain.

At Tyndall Air Force Base south of Panama City leaders declared HURCON (Hurricane Condition) 1 status, ordering out all but essential personnel, after some 600 military families appeared squarely targeted for the worst of the storm's fury.

"This is total devastation", she told CNN. "Do not risk your life, leave NOW if you were told to do so", it said. "Things happen to even the most experienced chasers", said Rachael Adair.

The NWS said it had found no record of any previous Category 4 hurricanes that made landfall in the Panhandle or the "Big Bend" coastal region. Forecasters said it will unleash damaging wind and rain all the way into the Carolinas, still recovering from Hurricane Florence's epic flooding.

As the hurricane moves out of Florida, Scott warned that flash floods and tornadoes are still possibilities and said "the weather is still extremely risky".

Following is a list of the world's five most deadly hurricanes. Hurricanes form over the Atlantic and North Pacific oceans and cause most damage to the Americas while typhoons form in the Northwest Pacific Ocean, impacting Asia.

A total of 453 flights had been cancelled on Wednesday across the country, with many occurring in the Florida area. Much of the affected area is rural and known for small tourist cities, beaches and wildlife reserves, as well as the state capital, Tallahassee, home to about 190,000 people. Flash flooding is also expected to be a major concern as the storm continues to push inland.

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