Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

After pummeling Florida and Georgia, deadly Michael heads to Carolinas

After pummeling Florida and Georgia, deadly Michael heads to Carolinas

Hurricane Michael, the third most powerful storm ever to strike the USA mainland, headed northeast on Thursday, weakened but still set to soak Georgia and the Carolinas after devastating the Florida Panhandle.

Since making landfall on Wednesday as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, the now tropical storm has left thousands of people without power, uprooted trees, turned homes and marinas into ruins and killed at least 2 people.

Mexico Beach is on the west end of what's called Florida's Forgotten Coast, so named because it is not heavily developed like numerous state's other shoreline areas, with their lavish homes and high-rise condos and hotels.

Just a few weeks ago, Hurricane Florence made landfall on September 14 near Wrightsville Beach, NC.

Accuweather warned those along the path of the storm from northern Florida to southeastern Virginia should expect downed trees and power outages.

Walls and windows were sucked out of a Holiday Inn in Panama City, where many evacuees were sheltered.

The Florida State Emergency Response Team meanwhile said 400,000 homes and businesses were without power.

On Thursday, residents who evacuated tried to return.

"While we will not see the full force of Hurricane Michael the way Florida will, we could see gusty winds, rain, flash flooding and even tornadoes", South Carolina Emergency Management Director Kim Stenson told CNN affiliate WACH.

The father of the 11-year-old girl tragically killed during Hurricane Michael has described learning of his daughter's death over the phone as "hell".

Hurricane Michael’s death toll rises to 6
Luke Farabaugh and his congregation celebrated Mass on Thursday. "We had furniture in our house that wasn't even our furniture". Nearly 1.2 million homes and businesses were without power from Florida to Virginia on Thursday because of the storm.

"The second death was reported in Georgia's Seminole County early Thursday, apparently caused by debris crashing through a mobile home and killing a child inside", the Washington Post reported.

At least three deaths were blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental United States in more than 50 years, and it wasn't done yet: Though reduced to a tropical storm, it brought flash flooding to North Carolina and Virginia, soaking areas still recovering from Hurricane Florence. At 5 a.m., the storm was located about 30 miles west of Augusta.

The 11-year-old girl died after the strong winds swept up a metal carport and blew it into her home, hitting her on the head.

Emergency responders weren't able to reach the home until after midnight because power lines and trees blocked the roads.

Kent Greene, the county's director of emergency management and fire services, said in an email that the man died Thursday after his vehicle was struck by a tree on a highway east of Statesville. "I'm literally shocked at the scale of the destruction", storm chaser Josh Morgerman tweeted Wednesday night.

By 8 a.m. EDT on Thursday, it had been downgraded to a tropical storm with 50 miles per hour winds as it pushed through Georgia into the Carolinas, the National Hurricane Center said. Though most homes were still standing, no property was left undamaged.

Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather, such as storms, droughts, floods and fires. "Make no mistake. Michael is a bad storm".

A reporter and a photojournalist from the Tampa Bay Times ventured to Mexico Beach before dawn Thursday, finding the town of about 1,000 nearly impassable.

"It looks like an atomic bomb had hit our city", David Barnes, of Panama City, told the Panama City News Herald.

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