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

Hurricane Michael Weakens to Category 1 Storm

Hurricane Michael Weakens to Category 1 Storm

"Hurricane Michael is an unprecedented event and can not be compared to any of our previous events".

Michael roared ashore near Mexico Beach about 1 p.m. central time Wednesday, becoming the most powerful storm to ever strike the Panhandle and the fourth strongest to make landfall in the U.S.

"There are so many downed power lines and trees that it's nearly impossible to get through the city", Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson said.

Michael had weakened to a Category 1, with maximum winds of 90 miles per hour as of 8:00 pm Eastern time (0000 GMT), but that still left it an extremely risky storm.

The wind and storm surge related insurance industry loss from hurricane Michael is estimated to be between $2 billion and $4.5 billion by Corelogic, based on a pre-landfall data assessment of the storms impacts to insured assets. Its 249 kph (155 mph) winds blew sheets of rain sideways. Eastern time. The US Energy Information Administration said about 388,000 customers in Florida, 46,000 customers in Georgia, and 45,000 customers in Alabama were in the dark as the storm moved inland.

Through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, Florida has also requested rescue teams and equipment from states including Kansas, Wisconsin, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia, Louisiana, Ohio, Oregon, New York, Tennessee and Maryland.

- Staying safe: almost 6,700 people took refuge in 54 shelters in Florida.

Florida Governor Rick Scott says search and rescue teams are heading into the USA state's hardest-hit areas to help survivors of Hurricane Michael.

- Food and water: 1.5 million ready-to-eat meals, 1 million gallons (3.75 million liters) of water and 40,000 10-pound (4.5-kilogram) bags of ice ready for distribution.

A man was killed by a tree that crashed into his home in Gadsden County, Florida on Wednesday, as Hurricane Michael plowed into Alabama and Georgia, leaving behind a path of destruction in the Panhandle.

After daylight Thursday residents of north Florida would just be beginning to take stock of the enormity of the disaster.

National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen said: "We are in new territory".

"We are catching some hell" was how a Panama City Beach resident who chose to ride it out described Michael as it made landfall. Part of the awning fell and shattered the glass front door of the hotel, and the rest of the awning wound up on vehicles parked below it.

Michael's wind speed increased by 72% in less than 33 hours.

Hurricane Michael moved over some very warm water in the Gulf of Mexico, highly unusual for this time of year (and something that has been attributed to global warming), per The Verge.

Corelogic's initial pre-landfall estimate of the industry loss is for a range of $2 billion to as much as $4.5 billion, from wind and storm surge damage. It was a relatively calm year except for hurricanes Michael and Florence last month. The publicity could backfire if recovery is delayed ahead of Election Day.

After there, the storm will move up through the Carolinas, hit by heavy rains form Hurricane Florence just a few weeks ago. The National Weather Service issued multiple tornado warnings in Georgia as Hurricane Michael pushed through the state, and local media report three of them may have touched down.

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