Hurricane Michael brings devastation to Florida

People wait for breakfast as they and others seek safety in a shelter as Hurricane Michael approaches Panama City Florida

"This storm can kill you", Governor Rick Scott has warned.

There is "one hurricane-related fatality", said Olivia Smith, public information officer for the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners, adding that the incident was "debris-related".

Michael sprang quickly from a weekend tropical depression, going from a Category 2 on Tuesday to a Category 4 by the time it came ashore.

A water-level station in Apalachicola, close to where Michael came ashore, reported a surge of almost 8 feet (2.5 meters).

At Tyndall Air Force Base south of Panama City leaders declared HURCON (Hurricane Condition) 1 status, ordering out all but essential personnel, after some 600 military families appeared squarely targeted for the worst of the storm's fury.

Storm flooding is still occurring along the Gulf Coast. "The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no Category 4 hurricane ever hitting the Florida panhandle". "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.

Even before Hurricane Michael made full landfall - which is the point where the eye of the storm hits land - it was knocking down trees with powerful winds and had caused flooding in the town of Apalachicola and Port St Joe, where more than 1.5 metres of water was reported.

Hurricane Michael is predicted to travel northeast across the southern USA, reaching the Atlantic Ocean again on tomorrow night (Oct. 11). Beachfront structures could be seen collapsing and metal roofing materials were blown away amid the heavy rain. "The emergency declaration is effective for seven days and makes all state resources available to local governments and entities within the impacted area of the hurricane", his office said.

The National Hurricane Center predicts Michael will stay a powerful and unsafe rainmaker as it moves across the U.S. Southeast and off the Mid-Atlantic coast before heading out to sea by Friday.

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Florida comes under a hurricane watch as Michael rapidly strengthens
The bottom line is that tropical storm force winds are likely, meaning winds ranging from 40 miles per hour to as high as 70+. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

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Hurricane Michael is now moving northeast with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour. "We didn't think it was going to be this bad".

By late Wednesday, the storm had moved toward Georgia.

"Michael should weaken as it crosses the southeastern United States through Thursday", the NHC said.

"Hurricane Michael is an unprecedented event and can not be compared to any of our previous events". He acknowledged that a lot of the residents in the area were poor and said it was probably tough to leave. Lower central pressure indicates a stronger storm.

President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration for Florida, freeing up federal funds for relief operations and providing the assistance of FEMA, which has more than 3,000 people on the ground.

The hurricane center's Graham said Michael represented a "textbook case" of a hurricane system growing stronger as it drew near shore, in contrast to Hurricane Florence, which struck North Carolina last month after weakening in a slow, halting approach.

There have been mandatory evacuations of several coastal counties in Florida, so the full extent of the damage will not be clear until later today.

Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather, such as storms, droughts, floods and fires.

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