Michael is the strongest storm since Hurricane Camille in 1969 and the third-most-powerful on record to hit the U.S. Two people died as a result of Hurricane Michael, a ferocious Category 4 hurricane that made landfall Wednesday afternoon with winds peaking at 155 mph.
A broad swath of the Southeast is affected, with over 20 million people under either a warning or a watch for hurricane flooding or tornadoes.
Gov. Rick Scott said, “Hurricane Michael is the worst storm that the Florida Panhandle has ever seen.”
The storm’s first reported victim died in a “debris-related” incident in Greensboro, about 30 miles west of Tallahassee.
The second storm’s victim was an 11-year-old girl in Lake Seminole, Georgia. She was said to be killed when part of a metal carport crashed into her family’s trailer and she was struck in the head, according to Travis Brooks.
Brooks said, “Complete and total devastation.
“The entire county is “pitch black.” No roads are clear, and it’s hard to reach people who may need emergency services.”
Hurricane Michael is the strongest and worst storm ever as the storm tore through northwest Florida. Michael was still strong till 4 p.m., Michael still had extreme winds of 140 mph as it moved toward southwest Georgia. The eye of the storm was moving through southwestern Georgia around dusk, 6 p.m.
“The worst thing you can do now acts foolishly or put yourself and your family at danger,” Scott said. More than 550,000 people were without power early Thursday, including almost 300,000 in Florida.
Unlike last month’s Hurricane Florence, which brought massive flooding to the Carolinas, one of the biggest threats from Michael is the wind.
Michael, which Scott called “monstrous,” made landfall with almost the highest possible wind speeds for a Category 4 — 155 mph. When a hurricane reaches 157 mph, it’s reclassified a Category 5, the highest.
Hurricane Michael passed through Florida and struck Germany as the category 2. As Michael approached the coast, its pressure dropped — the lower the pressure, the more intense the storm. Michael’s pressure levels are comparable to those of Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005.
“Anybody that doesn’t evacuate that experiences storm surge doesn’t typically live to tell about that,” Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said.
Gordon said, “This was a shock, waking up knowing it was a [Category] 4.
“Thinking it was a [Category] 2 was a very different story.”
Panhandle is the wide strip of northwest Florida that touches the Gulf of Mexico and includes Alabama. Popular with tourists for its beaches, the area also has many year-round residents. Its largest city is Pensacola, with a population approaching half a million. About 4,000 people have entered 70 evacuation shelters, FEMA officials said. Michael may bring weekslong power outages. Bossert said he’s concerned not enough people evacuated and many rescues may be needed after the brunt of the storm passes.
“I am very, very worried about the recovery, Bossert added.
“People are going to be really struggling after this one.”
Scott declared a state of emergency in 35 Florida counties. Trump approved an emergency declaration for Florida, permitting the federal government to provide resources and aid.
“This is a small storm in an area that they never thought that it would be, and they said it grew into a monster,” Trump said Wednesday from the Oval Office.
Trump added, “We’re very, very prepared.
“We have massive amounts of food and water that gets brought in immediately.
“Some of the areas are very poor.
“Not easy for a person without the necessary money to leave.”
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal also has declared a state of emergency.
“What you’re going to see is a storm moving very rapidly through Georgia, and it will maintain hurricane strength through southwest Georgia and central Georgia as it passes through later today and early tomorrow.
Alabama, where about 15,000 residents were without power early Thursday, was besieged by high winds and heavy rain. Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency. North Carolina and South Carolina likely will see heavy rainfall, which could cause flooding in areas already damaged and rain-soaked by Hurricane Florence last month. A state of emergency was declared Wednesday in North Carolina, said Gov. Roy Cooper, as he warned that winds will be strong enough to down trees.
Additional information gotten from ABCNews