Officials shift to search and rescue after devastating Michael

Share

According to the US Energy Information Administration.

Hurricane Michael continued to batter the Southeast, pummeling states with powerful rain, wind and flooding. "The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no Category 4 hurricane ever hitting the Florida panhandle".

Life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall arrived with Michael, which is inundating the coastline.

Authorities said at least one person has died, a man killed by a tree falling on a Panhandle home.

Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm as it raced across Georgia late Wednesday night.

The St. Marks River overflows into the city of St. Marks, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

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. Search and rescue crews were expected to escalate efforts to reach hardest-hit areas and check for anyone trapped or injured in the storm debris.

Michael is likely to dump heavy rain over Florida, Alabama, Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

FEMA head Brock Long acknowledged that early evacuation efforts in the area were slow in comparison to how quickly the hurricane intensified.

Ken Graham, director of the Miami-based National Hurricane Center, said Michael is "unfortunately, a historical and incredibly risky and life-threatening situation".

More news: Steelers’ WR Antonio Brown Reported $80K, Gun Stolen From Florida Apartment

Pensacola-based Gulf Power estimated that up to 225,000 of its customers could be impacted by the storm that pounded the Panhandle throughout the afternoon and into the evening.

Michael, the strongest hurricane on record to hit the area, made landfall Wednesday and continued to charge north, wreaking havoc and prompting emergencies as it moves through the region.

Michael is continuing to strengthen as its minimum central pressure has dropped to 919 millibars.

Never in recorded weather history has a hurricane hit the mainland United States at such a speed in October, the month marking the end of the June to November hurricane season.

As the storm came ashore Wednesday, tornado risks grew, with warnings issued as far south as Sarasota County.

Michael is the lowest pressure hurricane to strike the US mainland since 1969. But hurricanes can also be measured by their barometric pressure: generally speaking, the lower the pressure, the more intense the storm. 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.

As it came ashore, Michael was just shy of a Category 5 - defined as a storm packing top sustained wind speeds of 157 miles per hour or above.

More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were warned to evacuate, but many stayed behind.

Scott, who expressed frustration earlier in the day about people ignoring evacuation orders, noted that the state has already spent close to $40 million on its response.

Share