Hurricane Michael causes 'unimaginable destruction' in Florida

Pine Island on Hernando County’s coast was free from any flooding early on Oct. 10 2018 as Hurricane Michael was poised to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle later in the day

Pine Island on Hernando County’s coast was free from any flooding early on Oct. 10 2018 as Hurricane Michael was poised to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle later in the day

Forecasters say Michael will come ashore over the Florida Panhandle sometime midday Wednesday. At 11 a.m. Monday, Michael was forecast to become a Major Hurricane.

While Florence took five days between the time it turned into a hurricane and the moment it rolled into the Carolinas, Michael gave Florida what amounted to two days' notice.

As of 11 a.m. EDT, Michael was centered about 35 miles (60 kilometers) south of Charlotte, North Carolina, with winds of 50 mph (85 kph).

Some footage taken while the storm still raged is also surfacing, including a shocking video of one woman's flooded yard in St. George Island being totally flooded, per CNN.

"Today is the day". Hurricane-force winds extended outward 45 miles from its center. The base had been evacuated before the storm and no injuries were reported.

Wakulla County issued a dire warning, saying it won't open any of its shelters - because they're safety-rated only for storms up to Category 2 strength, WFSU reports. After it ravaged the Panhandle, Michael entered south Georgia as a Category 3 hurricane - the most powerful in recorded history for that part of the neighbouring state. Michael is expected to rain 4 to 7 in. from eastern to southern mid-Atlantic Georgia.

The hurricane was downgraded from a Category 4 to a tropical storm and is now moving up the Carolinas.

President Trump has approved Florida's declaration of emergency.

ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee said the ruins in Mexico Beach were "eerily reminiscent to the scene I saw in Gulfport [Louisiana] in 2005" after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. "It looks like another big one".

Storm surge is also inundating some areas along the Panhandle.

On Tuesday, Gov Scott said he had activated 2,500 Florida National Guard troops.

Rapid intensification means that a storm has found itself in an ideal environment - one usually characterized by warm waters and little adverse wind shear. "You want to check on things, and begin the recovery process", Scott told AP. Thousands of people hunkered down in shelters overnight after fleeing their homes ahead of the storm.

But the full extent of the damage was only slowly becoming clear, with some of the stricken areas hard to reach because of roads blocked by debris or water. "You couldn't see anything anywhere".

In its latest bulletin, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Michael had become "an extremely risky category 4 hurricane". He said 110,000 residences and businesses were without power Thursday, morning, representing about 90 percent of the customers served by the city's electric service.

It was the strongest to hit the continental U.S. since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Michael is expected to leave the mainland United States by Friday morning.

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The state mental hospital in Chattahoochee, which has a section for the criminally insane, was cut off by land, and food and supplies were being flown in, authorities said. "It sounded like 40 jet engines going off". It is moving north (350 degrees) at around 12 miles per hour, packing maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour.

The massive storm hit the Panhandle early Wednesday afternoon, leaving a trail of devastation. He's committed to providing any federal resources Florida may need. "Dangerous storm surge continues along the coast of the Florida Panhandle". "I thought the roof was going to come off".

In Georgia, governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for 92 of Georgia's 159 counties.

"Do you think her body would be here?"

SULLIVAN: And local authorities are stressing timely evacuation, too. You can not hide from this storm.

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