Saturday, 15 December, 2018


Michael downgraded to tropical storm, but still packing a punch

Waves crash along a pier as the outerbands of hurricane Michael arrive in Panama City Beach Florida Waves crash along a pier as the outerbands of hurricane Michael arrive in Panama City Beach Florida
Kristine Garrett | 11 October, 2018, 12:52

Hurricane Michael, which made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida as a category-4 storm on Wednesday afternoon, has ravaged the Florida Panhandle with gusting winds of up to 155mph (250kph).

With maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour, Hurricane Micheal is bearing down on the Florida panhandle this morning, having intensified into what the National Weather Service called an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 hurricane.

The eye of Hurricane Michael began to move through southwest Georgia on Wednesday evening - the first major hurricane to reach the state since the 19th century, according to local reports.

The National Weather Service says tornadoes are possible across the Florida Panhandle, southeast Georgia and southern SC through Thursday morning as the hurricane now moves inland.

"We just finished renovating and updating", she said. It had sustained winds of 155 mph, meaning it wasn't from a Category 5 storm - a Category 4 hurricane has sustained winds of up to 156 mph, and Category 5 is 157 mph and above.

The storm continued on its destructive path, bringing heavy rains and tearing down trees.

Hurricane Michael weakened to a Category 1 storm late Wednesday as it moved across south-central Georgia with maximum sustained winds of about 75 miles per hour.

The Panhandle is the most impoverished region of Florida, and this kind of a storm would be hard to overcome even for wealthy communities.

The rapid increase in Michael's force came because of a phenomenon that meteorologists call "rapid intensification", which the National Hurricane Center defines as an increase in sustained wind speeds of at least 35 miles per hour in one day.

More than 40 percent of daily crude oil production and more than one-third of natural gas output was lost from offshore US Gulf of Mexico wells on Wednesday because of platform evacuations and shut-ins caused by Michael.

"It feels like you don't know when the next tree is going to fall on top of you because its blowing so ferociously", he said by telephone.

The only other hurricane that landed with comparable force this late in the year was Hurricane Hazel in 1954, but Michael was much stronger when it came ashore, Mr. Henson said.

Hurricane Michael, the most powerful storm the U.S. has seen in almost 50 years, is moving through the Florida Panhandle, ripping apart homes and sending walls of water rushing inland.

More than 380,000 homes and businesses were without power at the height of the storm. "We thought the windows were going to break at any time", Beu said.

"This happened so quickly, we weren't exactly prepared", he said.

The National Hurricane Center called Michael "potentially catastrophic" and "extremely unsafe". By Friday, it should be a post-tropical cyclone, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Looking at the entire hurricane season, Michael had the strongest winds since 1992 and Hurricane Andrew.

There has never been a Category 4 hurricane make landfall on the Florida Panhandle - ever. "God willing we'll still have some place". Up to a foot (30 cm) of rain was forecast in Florida.

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.

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