'Catching some hell': Hurricane Michael slams into Florida

Muriel Hammond
October 11, 2018

Based on wind speed, it was the fourth-strongest, behind the Labor Day storm (184 miles per hour, or 296 kph), Camille and Andrew in 1992.

"Oh my God, what are we seeing?" said evacuee Rachel Franklin, her mouth hanging open. A neighbor with far more storm experience is evacuating to higher ground, and authorities urged residents to move inland. Tropical-storm force winds, extending 185 miles (295 kilometres) from the centre, were already lashing the coast, and hurricane-force winds reached out 45 miles (75 kilometres) from the centre. "Once you are sheltered, STAY PUT", Florida Gov.

When she dared to look outside, Mexico Beach's emerald waters and white sugar-sand beaches were covered in a dark sea of splintered debris, she said.

The first confirmed report of a storm-related fatality came in Wednesday night, when officials in Gadsden County, near Tallahassee, said that a man was found dead in his home after a tree crashed through the roof during the storm. Four pine trees had crashed through the roof of her apartment, almost hitting two people.

"We don't know if it's going to wipe out our house or not", Jason McDonald, of Panama City, said as he and his wife drove north into Alabama with their two children, ages 5 and 7. SC saw 47 tornadoes in two days in 2004 as Tropical Storm Frances move north from the Florida Panhandle. "A number of homes have rooftop tarps that could be damaged or blown away with this wind".

Stores and entire shopping centers that were turned into piles of rubble.

Michael had left a trail of utility wires on roads, flattened tall pine trees and knocked a steeple from a church.

Smith, the Franklin County sheriff, said the county-run hospital had closed, and ambulance staff had evacuated - to his dismay.

Without power, the city was plunged into darkness at nightfall and its flooded streets were mostly silent and devoid of people or traffic. In Lynn Haven, north of Panama City, he described finding one woman curled up in a fetal position in a garage with a tree over her head - a "very unsafe, sketchy situation", he said. "Very frightful", Gunderson said. Forecasters said Michael could be near a very risky Category 4 by landfall, with further strengthening expected overnibght.

They said they spent the past year renovating a house with new floors, walls and a paint job. "They need somewhere to sit down and rest for a little". Now, a big tree is lying through their store and they're not sure what to do next.

In Panama City, about 20 miles northwest of Mexico Beach, the power went out at Country Inn Suites.

Several people were taken by van from coastal Wakulla County to Tallahassee's Leon County to the north. Wakulla County's shelters are not considered reliable against storms stronger than a Category 2. A hurricane warning has been discontinued for the Gulf coast of Florida. Tens of thousands have been ordered to evacuate amid emergency declarations in parts of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. "In Marianna, Florida, about 18 miles south of the Alabama state line, Michael's eye tore through the community".

Some parts of the Carolinas and southern Virginia, recently deluged by Hurricane Florence, could see up to 6 inches, the hurricane center said.

Michael isn't the only storm gaining strength in the tropics.

County spokesman Christopher Saul, the only person speaking to the media, says he's not heard of any property damage or beach erosion, but that the county at this time is primarily concerned with the well being of the human population.

Florida Governor Rick Scott told the Weather Channel the damage from Panama City down to Mexico Beach was "way worse than anybody ever anticipated".

In Florida "life-threatening" storm surge of up to 14 feet was forecast, though the National Hurricane Center said water levels are beginning to recede in some locations.

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