1 dead as monstrous Hurricane Michael tears into Florida

1 dead as monstrous Hurricane Michael tears into Florida

Hurricane Michael, the third most powerful storm ever to strike the USA mainland, headed northeast on Thursday, weakened but still set to soak Georgia and the Carolinas after devastating the Florida Panhandle. "There was a tree involved".

Hurricane Michael caused a transformer to explode as the storm hit the southern portion of Alabama on October 10. "I didn't expect all this", said Bill Manning, 63, a grocery clerk who left his camper van in Panama City to move into a hotel where the power eventually went out. You just want somebody to shake you and wake you up.

- High tides: storm surge of 6 feet (2 meters) up to 14 feet (4 meters) forecast for Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend. Some of those areas are still working to recover from Hurricane Florence.

You can track the hurricane's progress using Google's Crisis Map tool or check for live updates from this National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration camera in space. The storm had top sustained winds of 96 kph and was moving to the northeast at 32 kph.

A vehicle is seen caught in floodwaters in Panama City, Fla.

The calculation changes if you take into account Puerto Rico, the U.S. island territory in the Caribbean that was devastated by Hurricane Maria previous year.

Emergency Management Agency director Travis Brooks told WGXA-TV that a child in Seminole County, Ga., died as a result of the storm.

The fate of about 280 residents who authorities said ignored evacuation orders was unknown. Tropical-storm-force winds in the 60 mph range are extending out 160 miles from the center of the storm, the NHC reported at 5 a.m. Thursday.

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It gathered still more strength just before making landfall northwest of the town of Mexico Beach on Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale. "Things happen to even the most experienced chasers", said Rachael Adair.

U.S. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for all of Florida, freeing federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses.

"Hurricane Michael is the worst storm that the Florida Panhandle has ever seen, and one of the worst power storms to ever make landfall in the United States", Scott said at the press conference.

Previous year saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Harvey, which caused a record-equaling $125 billion (USD) in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area. Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather, such as storms, droughts, floods and fires, and Michael was fueled by abnormal water temperatures in the Gulf - 4-to-5 degrees above the historic norm for this time of year.

Sally Crown rode out Michael on the Florida Panhandle thinking at first that the worst damage was the many trees downed in her yard.

The deadliest hurricane on record cost the lives of about 20,000 people, with most of the damage and fatalities occurring in Barbados and surrounding islands.

Hurricane Mitch reportedly killed about 19,000 people.

Heavy rainfall was projected for areas in the storm's path.

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