Hurricane Michael devastation in Panama City, Florida seen in drone video, photos

Pablo Tucker
October 11, 2018

Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall along the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 storm with 145 miles per hour winds later today, marking the first storm of that strength to hit the Panhandle in recorded history. In the D.C. area, its effects are a few days off and should be limited.

Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm as it raced across Georgia late Wednesday night.

Florida officials said Michael, packing winds of 155 miles per hour (250 kph), was the most powerful storm to hit the southern USA state in more than a century. It was the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental almost 50 years.

Hurricane Michael just made landfall along the Florida panhandle and it's packing much more of a punch than most assumed it would when warnings about its arrival began to spread about a week ago.

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.

In an advisory from the National Hurricane Center, the potential for a catastrophic event along the Florida Panhandle becomes even more real as Category 4 Hurricane Michael has increased in intensity.

Central Daylight Time, five miles northwest of Mexico Beach, a quiet beach town with a population of about 1,200. Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather, such as storms, droughts, floods and fires, and Michael was fuelled by abnormal water temperatures in the Gulf - 4-to-5 degrees above the historic norm for this time of year. Officials are opening temporary hospitals in that area. The only storms with lower pressure were Hurricane Camille in 1969, and the unnamed Labor Day hurricane of 1935. "Structures built before 2001 are not created to handle that type of wind, typically", Long said.

The Panhandle is looking at life-threatening storm surge that will be between 9 to 14 feet above ground from Panama City to the Aucilla River, and 4 to 9 feet in most other parts of the region associated with the storm's landfall.

Hours earlier, meteorologists watched satellite imagery in complete awe as the storm intensified.

National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen added: "We are in new territory. We thought the windows were going to break at any time", Beu said.

As winds started to topple trees in Tallahassee, one of them landed on Joe Marino's chimney.

"Going back through records to 1851 we can't find another Cat 4 in this area, so this is unfortunately a historical and incredibly unsafe and life-threatening situation", he said.

While we might not get more storms in a warmer climate, most studies show storms will get stronger and produce more rain.

Warmer water acts as fuel for a hurricane, helping it develop into a more destructive, windier storm. Water seeped into her fourth floor apartment When she dared to look outside, water levels were grazing the fronds of tall palm trees on the beach. Michael is now positioned 60 miles south-southwest of Panama City.

"I'm just praying for them and, as soon as this passes, we will be out there doing everything we can to rescue everybody..."

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