Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Hurricane Michael Decimates Florida Panhandle, Kills at Least One

Hurricane Michael Decimates Florida Panhandle, Kills at Least One

The center of Tropical Storm Michael is expected to barely miss Charlotte on Thursday as it moves from SC toward Raleigh, bringing heavy rain that could cause flash flooding and possibly damaging winds. It looks more like the popular spring break spot is getting bombed than hit by a storm.

Michael benefited from deep pockets of warm water in the Gulf, which meant that even as the storm stirred the water it crossed, it wasn't churning up cool water that could sap its strength, said Bryan Norcross, a hurricane specialist with WPLG, a TV station in South Florida.

In 2016, Hurricane Matthew, which caused the deaths of almost 600 people in Haiti, quickly grew to a Category 5 storm with sustained winds up 165 miles an hour because of rapid intensification.

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

Associated Press journalists watched Michael roll ashore from hotels in Panama City and Panama City Beach.

The agency said that storm surge is continuing to inundate parts of the Florida Panhandle.

"Heavy rain associated with Tropical Storm Michael will continue into this afternoon, tapering off as the storm moves east", the National Weather Service said.

About four hours after the hurricane made landfall, the eye of the storm was leaving the Florida Panhandle and approaching southeastern Alabama and southwest Georgia, the NHC said.

President Donald Trump has been in touch with state governors and said a federal emergency team is standing by and ready to help with storm recovery. Hurricane force winds extends 40 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm force winds more than 100 miles. It was a relatively calm year except for hurricanes Michael and Florence last month.

Hundreds of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate their homes and the governor told residents who had not done so to "hunker down and be careful". "We haven't seen as robust of an evacuation response from the civilian population that we have seen in other storms".

Charlotte is expected to get about 3.7 inches of rain Thursday, with about an inch more to the north and west in towns including Statesville, Gastonia and Salisbury.

A hurricane warning was in place from the Okaloosa/Walton county line to the Suwannee River and a tropical storm warning was in effect for north of Fernandina Beach, Fla., to Duck, N.C., and Pamlico and Albemarle sounds.

"This situation has NEVER happened before", it said on Twitter. He has covered hurricanes in the state for decades.

Past 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.

In St. Marks, roughly 20 miles south of Tallahassee, photos showed rising waters pouring into homes and businesses as early as Wednesday morning.

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