'Worst on record': Hurricane Michael slams Florida with winds up to 250kmh

Rodiano Bonacci
Ottobre 11, 2018

Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle Wednesday as the most powerful storm to strike the USA mainland in 50 years.

Hurricane Michael weakened to a Category 1 storm late Wednesday as it moved across south-central Georgia with maximum sustained winds of about 75 miles per hour.

"The center of Michael is now moving into south-central Georgia".

The hurricane center's Graham said Michael represented a "textbook case" of a hurricane system growing stronger as it drew near shore, in contrast to Hurricane Florence, which struck North Carolina last month after weakening in a slow, halting approach.

The fate of about 280 residents who authorities said defied evacuation orders was unknown. "Those who stick around to experience storm surge don't typically live to tell about it unfortunately".

A day after the supercharged storm crashed ashore amid white sand beaches, fishing towns and military bases, Michael was no longer a Category 4 monster packing 250 km/h winds.

Residents of the neighboring state of Georgia should also expect to be heavily impacted by the storm, the FEMA head said.

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

"Our biggest concern is... the people that chose not to evacuate", he told CNN.

While eyes in space watch the unsafe storm from above, cameras on the ground are tracking the hurricane's impending landfall for live internet viewing.

A child was killed in Seminole County, Georgia during the storm, emergency management officials said.

The winds were so strong they brought down a billboard in Florida's Panama City, tore down a Texaco gas pumping station canopy in Inlet Beach, and the storm surge completely knocked a house of its foundations in Mexico Beach.

Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama issued a state-wide state of emergency on Monday "in anticipation of wide-spread power outages, wind damage, and debris produced by high winds and heavy rain associated with Hurricane Michael".

Hurricane Michael was barely a hurricane Tuesday morning local time, with winds of 90mph (145km/h).

An estimated 375,000 people in more than 20 counties were ordered or advised to evacuate.

"This happened so quickly, we weren't exactly prepared", he said.

Hours earlier, it made landfall in Florida as the strongest hurricane to hit the USA in almost 50 years and the third-strongest ever.

Trump was briefed on the hurricane on Wednesday prior to it making landfall and said he would visit the area early next week.

Previous year saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Harvey, which caused a record-equaling $125 billion in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area.

But Kottlowski noted that meteorologists are still analyzing Hurricane Michael, and it's possible that it will be retroactively upgraded to Category 5 status based on wind speeds.

Sally Crown rode out Michael on the Florida Panhandle thinking at first that the worst damage was the many trees downed in her yard. Wind damage was also evident.

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