Historic Hurricane Michael hits Florida — WHAT'S HAPPENING

Historic Hurricane Michael hits Florida — WHAT'S HAPPENING

At least one death was reported in Gadsden County, Florida, where authorities said a tree crashed through a home and crushed a man. Rescue crews that were responding to the emergency failed to arrive in time to pull him out alive due to roads being blocked by fallen power lines. Officials hadn't immediately confirmed the man's name. By 8pm, it was down to a category 1.

At 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT), the center of the storm was a few miles northwest of Mexico Beach and about 20 miles (30 km) southeast of Panama City. Beachfront structures could be seen collapsing and metal roofing materials were blown away amid the heavy rain.

Powerful winds, devastating storm surge and heavy rain are predicted in the Florida Panhandle, the finger-shaped strip of land along the Gulf of Mexico.

"This is total devastation", she told CNN. "It's like a nightmare". "You just don't know when the next one is going down". How can this happen?

After being battered for almost three hours by strong winds and heavy rains, roads in Panama City were virtually impassable and trees, satellite dishes and traffic lights lay in the streets.

Warm water is like jet fuel for hurricanes, and a combination of balmy conditions in the Gulf of Mexico, a lack of disturbance from wind shear and rapid intensification near the coast turned Michael into a historic storm, according to hurricane experts. That sort of timetable can make evacuations more hard to manage.

Shredded trees, derailed train cars and a sunken trailer are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were urged to evacuate as Michael closed in.

At about 3pm, another video taken from the International Space Station showed the eye of the storm - the most powerful to ever hit the Florida Panhandle - as it moved through the state.

"We are still in the midst of a Category 4 catastrophic and historic storm". As it moved further inland, its crushing force subsided. "We will take care of each other".

Brock Long, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said many Florida buildings were not built to withstand a storm above the strength of a Category 3 hurricane. Cedar Key to Chassahowitzka could see storm surge topping out between 4 feet to 6 feet.

"The National Hurricane Center is expecting storm surge to be between nine and 2.7-3.6 meters. Structures built before 2001 are not created to handle that type of wind, typically", Long said.

Hurricane Michael has forced thousands of residents to flee their homes.

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Up to 12 inches of rain could fall in Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend areas, as well as southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia.

"I guess it's the worst-case scenario".

"I think that we just caught the band of it". A wind gust to 46 miles per hour was recently reported inland at Tallahassee, according to the Hurricane Center advisory.

"We are in new territory", National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook. It was the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S.in almost 50 years.

Michael was the first Category 4 hurricane to hit the Florida Panhandle.

President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida, freeing up federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses.

Lucky for Reynolds, the power did not go out at her home. Some 17,000 utility restoration workers were also on call.

Briefing Mr Trump, Brock Long, the U.S. government's disaster chief, said: "This is the most intense hurricane that's struck this area since 1851". "Do not risk your life, leave NOW if you were told to do so", it said. The storm is moving north-northeast at 16 miles per hour and is likely to remain a strong hurricane through Wednesday night as the system is expected to move through parts of Georgia and into the Carolinas. The Carolinas are still reeling from severe flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence less than a month ago. Expected landfall is mid-afternoon.

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

Michael's strength may reflect the effect of climate change on storms. Palm trees whipped wildly in the winds.

The water was 2.2C to 2.8C (4F to 5F) warmer than normal, and high atmosphere winds that can disrupt a hurricane were quiet.

Throughout the week, a cold front embedded in a low pressure "trough" moving west to east across the United States ran into Michael as it made its way north through the Gulf of Mexico.

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