WHAT’S HAPPENING: Hurricane slams Florida panhandle, Georgia


"Michael is likely to produce potentially catastrophic wind damage where the core of the hurricane moves onshore in the Florida Panhandle, and everyone in the hurricane warning area should prepare for life-threatening hurricane winds".

Given the ongoing impacts, hurricane Michael still has 90 mph winds now nearly 5 hours after landall as we update this article, establishing the actual damage impacts and industry loss is going to take some time.

People seek safety in a shelter as Hurricane Michael approaches, October 10, 2018, in Panama City, Fla.

Sustained winds have been measured at up to 155 miles per hour, which is at the extreme upper limit of what weather experts expect from a Category 4 storm. Surges of as high as 14 feet are expected around where Michael made landfall near Apalachicola, Florida. Tropical-storm-force winds in the 60 mph range are extending out 160 miles from the center of the storm, the NHC reported at 5 a.m. Thursday.

"Although the latest guidance keeps a post-tropical Michael well south of P.E.I., some of that storm's moisture may enhance the rainfall from another approaching storm system, a more typical fall storm, as it moves out of Ontario and through Quebec, Thursday through Friday", he said.

The death toll was revised to 2,975 fatalities, either in the storm itself or later as the health care and utilities grids failed.

Briefing President Donald Trump at the White House, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) chief Brock Long said Michael was the most intense hurricane to strike the Florida Panhandle since 1851.

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Michael was forecast to remain a tropical storm Thursday as it passes over Georgia, the Carolinas and even Virginia, bringing as much as a half a foot of rain to those states in a matter of days.

The Category 4 hurricane was the fiercest to hit Florida in 80 years when it came ashore on Wednesday, but its strength waned as it pushed into Georgia. The debris was a problem in many coastal communities and still hundreds of thousands of people were also left without power. "We haven't seen as robust of an evacuation response from the civilian population that we have seen in other storms".

As with most large hurricanes, the National Weather Service has issued a whole list of watches and warnings associated with the storm, including severe thunderstorm alerts and tornado watches.

While we might not get more storms in a warmer climate, most studies show storms will get stronger and produce more rain.

An estimated 6,000 people evacuated to emergency shelters, mostly in Florida, and that number was expected to swell to 20,000 across five states by week's end, Kieserman said.

The storm will be making landfall around 2 p.m. "This happened so quickly", he said. The Carolinas are still recovering from Hurricane Florence less than a month ago. Neighborhood streets flooded as waves battered the shoreline.

- Power outages: More than 780,000 customers in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and SC without power.