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Hurricane Michael makes landfall in Florida: ‘Our worst fears realized’

Hurricane Michael has caused widespread damage across the Florida panhandle. The Category 4 monster was among the most powerful hurricanes in half a century to strike the mainland United States. Hurricane Michael churned through the Florida panhandle packing 155-mph (250-kph) winds on Wednesday afternoon, unleashing devastating damage along the Gulf coast as it moved inland into Georgia. It had the lowest barometric reading of a hurricane to make landfall since 1969, making it the most intense storm to hit the continental US in half a century. Michael was also the most powerful hurricane to hit the panhandle of Florida. The storm slammed ashore early afternoon near Mexico Beach as a Category 4 hurricane on the five-level Saffir-Simpson wind scale, uprooting trees and powerlines, dumping rain and unleashing severe flooding. "Michael saw our worst fears realized, of rapid intensification just before landfall on a part of a coastline that has never experienced a Category 4 hurricane," said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy. Authorities said a man in the town of Greensboro was killed by a falling tree when it crashed through the roof of his home. Some 375,000 people had been urged to leave their homes for stronger shelters in Florida, but many residents were trapped after they were caught surprised by the storm doubling in strength as it approached land. By Wednesday night, more than 400,000 people in Florida, Georgia and Alabama were without power. Emergency alerts for Alabama, Georgia The storm's strength diminished to a Category 1 storm packing 75-mph (120-kph) winds as it moved into Georgia late Wednesday. It was projected to cut through the state and move into the Carolinas as a tropical storm on Thursday. The governors of North and South Carolina urged residents to prepare for heavy rain and winds, which come less than a month after Hurricane Florence battered the mid-Atlantic coast. President Donald Trump said he had spoken with Florida Governor Rick Scott on Tuesday, and federal emergency services were coordinating with regional agencies in the areas likely to be impacted. "It is imperative that you heed the directions of your State and Local Officials. Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE!" the president tweeted to residents of Florida and Georgia. Climate change making more destructive storms In the past year, several massive storms battered the US coasts, including Irma, Maria and Harvey. Houston's metropolitan area suffered a record-equaling $125 billion (€108 billion) in damage. North and South Carolina are still reeling from Hurricane Florence last month. Climate scientists have long warned that the effects of global warming make storms more destructive and point to last year's string of hurricanes as visible evidence.

Hurricane Michael has caused widespread damage across the Florida panhandle. The Category 4 monster was among the most powerful hurricanes in half a century to strike the mainland United States. Hurricane Michael churned through the Florida panhandle packing 155-mph (250-kph) winds on Wednesday afternoon, unleashing devastating damage along the Gulf coast as it moved inland into Georgia. It had the ... Read More »

Hurricane Michael damage could be worst in decades, warns Florida governor

Hurricane Michael risks intensifying into a Category 4 storm as it speeds towards the Florida Panhandle. Tens of thousands of residents have been ordered to evacuate. Hurricane Michael could cause "devastating damage" along the Florida Panhandle when it makes landfall later on Wednesday, the state's governor, Rick Scott, warned. With winds of up to 120 mph (195 kph), experts warned that Michael could strengthen into a massive Category 4 hurricane by the time it blows ashore. Scott said Michael could be the worst storm in decades to hit the state's northwest, also known as the Florida Panhandle. Rick Knabb, the former head of the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC), urged residents to evacuate immediately and avoid seeking shelter in high-rise buildings. "Evacuate as instructed today. Shelter where you'll sleep tonight and stay for duration of storm and aftermath," Knabb warned. "Shelter from hurricane winds like you would for a tornado. Do not stay in a high rise! Winds a category stronger on higher floors. Do not stay in mobile home!" As many as 180,000 residents were ordered to evacuate their homes. Most evacuations were ordered from Bay County in the panhandle, a low-lying area made up mostly of resorts and retirement communities. US President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration for Florida and announced on Twitter that the government was freeing up federal funds for relief operations and providing assistance for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "It is imperative that you heed the directions of your State and Local Officials. Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE!" the president tweeted Tracking Michael's route Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall in the panhandle by Wednesday afternoon local time. According to the NHC, some parts of Florida could see up to storm surges of up to 13 feet (4 meters), and up to a foot of rain. Read more: Texas recovers under the long shadow of Hurricane Harvey The storm is expected to weaken as it moves up into the southeastern United States. Nevertheless, state officials have also issued a disaster declaration for Alabama and Georgia. The Carolinas, meanwhile, are still reeling from Hurricane Florence, which killed dozens and caused billions of dollars in damage last month However, when Florence barreled towards the Carolinas, residents had five day' notice from the time it had turned into a hurricane and the moment it hit. Michael's increasing strength effectively gave locals in Florida just two days' notice. Read more: Climate change and extreme weather: Science is proving the link Last year, saw an array of devastating storms batter the western Atlantic, including Irma, Maria and Harvey. Houston's metropolitan area suffered a record-equaling $125 billion (€108 billion) in damage. Climate scientists have long warned that the effects of global warming make storms more destructiveand point to last year's string of hurricanes as visible evidence.

Hurricane Michael risks intensifying into a Category 4 storm as it speeds towards the Florida Panhandle. Tens of thousands of residents have been ordered to evacuate. Hurricane Michael could cause “devastating damage” along the Florida Panhandle when it makes landfall later on Wednesday, the state’s governor, Rick Scott, warned. With winds of up to 120 mph (195 kph), experts warned ... Read More »

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