Hurricane Michael smashed into the Florida panhandle Wednesday with massive storm surges and crippling downpours; killing at least two people and destroying hundreds of homes as it makes its way inland.
The devastating hurricane rapidly escalated from a tropical storm into a Category 4 monster in just days; reaching sustained wind speeds of 155 mph -just two miles per hour short of a Category 5.
“Under a perfectly clear blue sky, Florida families emerged tentatively from darkened shelters and hotels to an unfamiliar and perilous landscape of shattered homes and shopping centers, beeping security alarms, wailing sirens and hovering helicopters,” writes the Associated Press.
Initial estimates show at least 900,000 homes and businesses are currently without power in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas.
“This morning, Florida’s Gulf Coast and Panhandle and the Big Bend are waking up to unimaginable destruction,” Gov. Rick Scott said. “So many lives have been changed forever. So many families have lost everything. … This hurricane was an absolute monster.”
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'TOO LATE TO LEAVE': Hurricane Michael Could Strengthen to CAT 5, Landfall in Hours
Hurricane Michael is gathering strength and picking up steam as it heads towards the coast of Florida’s panhandle Wednesday; potentially becoming a Category 5 storm as it makes landfall later today.
“As powerhouse Michael, a Category 4 hurricane, hurtled closer to the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, the supercharged storm had maximum sustained winds of 150 mph – just seven miles shy of a Category 5,” warned USA Today.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2018
“It’s our first storm (forecast) to be on top of us,” said one longtime resident. “We’ve had a number of them come into the Gulf, and either come to the left or the right of us. But never on top of us.”
“The time to evacuate coastal areas has come and gone,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott. “If you are in an inland county you might have one more chance to evacuate, but only if local officials say it is safe.”
155 MPH FURY: Hurricane Michael SLAMS Florida, Nears CAT 5
Hurricane Michael hit the Florida panhandle Wednesday afternoon at winds just shy of a Category 5 storm; smashing the coastline with sustained winds of 155 mph and drenching downpours.
The National Hurricane Center confirmed the storm made landfall at approximately 1pm Wednesday afternoon and was moving north-northeast at 14 mph.
“Water levels continue to rise quickly along the coast of the Florida Panhandle, the NHC said. “A National Ocean Service water level station at Apalachicola recently reported over 5.5 feet of inundation above ground level.”
— Emilie Ikeda (@EmilieIkedaFOX5) October 10, 2018
“Hurricane Michael is a dangerous, catastrophic life-threatening storm,” said a senior meteorologist at Fox News. “The panhandle of Florida has never had a Cat 4 landfall in their history, and Michael could go down as the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. in the month of October.”