Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

One dead after Hurricane Michael slams into Florida Panhandle

One dead after Hurricane Michael slams into Florida Panhandle

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.

Hurricane Michael, the fiercest storm to hit Florida in more than 80 years and the third-most powerful ever to strike the USA mainland, battered the state's Gulf coast on Wednesday with roof-shredding winds, raging surf and torrential rains.

Hours after making landfall near Panama City Beach, FL, destructive Hurricane Michael continues to cut a swatch of destruction into southwest Georgia and SE Alabama.

Trees and wires are down throughout Florida Gulf Coast towns.

After ramping up in intensity with maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, Category 4 Hurricane Michael was zeroing in on landfall in an area now being pinpointed between St. Vincent Island and Panama City. Other parts of the state in the path of the storm have reported storm surges of up to 5 feet.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles.

Olivia Smith, public information officer for the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners, said there was "one hurricane-related fatality", adding that the incident was "debris-related".

Before the storm made landfall, Scott said he activated 3,500 members of the Florida National Guard. "It was weird. We went outside and you could smell the pine, and there it was, laying on the chimney".

On the forecast track, the core of Michael will move inland across the Florida Panhandle this afternoon, and across southeastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia tonight.

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He said the storm would still have hurricane-force winds as it pushed through Florida into Georgia, and tropical storm-force winds when it reaches the Carolinas, which are still reeling from post-Florence flooding.

NASA has released incredible footage of Hurricane Michael as seen from space. Predating modern meteorological technology, the formation point and exact wind strengths of the hurricane are unknown.

Emily Hindle lies on the floor at an evacuation shelter set up at Rutherford High School, in advance of Hurricane Michael, which is expected to make landfall today, in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

"Storm surge will be the most damaging aspect of the storm", says Kottlowski.

Sheppard said the major threats from Michael are high winds and storm surge, forecast to reach 14 feet in some coastal areas.

It is expected to move quickly up the US East Coast. According to the National Hurricane Center, "most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months". The most recognizable measurement, the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, rates hurricanes from 1-5 based on their sustained wind speeds.

The National Weather Service office in the state capital Tallahassee issued a dramatic appeal for people to comply with evacuation orders.

Characterized by strong winds and heavy rainfall, the hurricane of 1930 caused severe damage to the Dominican Republic.

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