Hurricane Michael has arrived, and it's stronger than anyone expected

Hurricane Michael has arrived, and it's stronger than anyone expected

The National Hurricane Center says the core of Michael will move across central and eastern Georgia Thursday morning, and then over southern and central SC later in the day. The monster hurricane was the most powerful ever recorded to hit the Panhandle and was on par with Hurricanes Irma, which swept across Florida in September 2017, and Andrew, which devastated Homestead in 1992. Early on Thursday, it was downgraded to a tropical storm, with top sustained winds diminishing to 60 miles per hour.

Major cities such as Houston were flooded, causing as much as $300 billion in damage, according to estimates.

Michael grew from a tropical storm into a Category 4 hurricane in about 40 hours.

According to the National Hurricane Center, there will be life-threatening storm surge, the worst of which is expected between Tyndall Air Force Base and Keaton Beach, "where 9 to 13 feet of inundation is possible".

"We are catching some hell" was how a Panama City Beach resident who chose to ride it out described Michael as it made landfall.

"Although the latest guidance keeps a post-tropical Michael well south of P.E.I., some of that storm's moisture may enhance the rainfall from another approaching storm system, a more typical fall storm, as it moves out of Ontario and through Quebec, Thursday through Friday", he said. "Storms are known to do this, but normally we see this happening when it's away from land", Matyas said.

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

12 inches: The isolated maximum amount of rain that Michael is forecast to dump across the Florida Panhandle and the state's Big Bend region, as well as in southeast Alabama and parts of southwest and central Georgia.

1 dead as monstrous Hurricane Michael tears into Florida
The fate of about 280 residents who authorities said ignored evacuation orders was unknown. The storm had top sustained winds of 96 kph and was moving to the northeast at 32 kph.

The Category 4 hurricane was the fiercest to hit Florida in 80 years when it came ashore on Wednesday, but its strength waned as it pushed into Georgia.

"We haven't seen her since the tree hit the den". Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather, such as storms, droughts, floods and fires.

In some states, like Virginia and North Carolina, it's a misdemeanor to refuse a mandatory evacuation order. The Carolinas are still recovering from Hurricane Florence less than a month ago.

Bo Patterson, the mayor of Port St. Joe, just south of Mexico Beach, rode out the storm in his house seven blocks from the beach, describing the scene outside as "very, very scary".

Here's a look at Hurricane Michael by the numbers, from its historic impact to its winds to its high tides.

"This situation has NEVER happened before", it said on Twitter.

A year ago saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Harvey, which caused a record-equaling $125 billion in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area. Storm surge could reach heights of 6 feet to 9 feet from the Okaloosa-Walton County line to Mexico Beach and from Keaton Beach to Cedar Key.

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