Michael charges into Southeast after slamming north Florida, at least 1 dead

Based on wind speed, it was the fourth-strongest, behind the Labor Day storm (184 miles per hour, or 296 kph), Camille and Andrew in 1992.

"This happened so quickly", he said.

Vance Beu, 29, was staying with his mother at her home, Spring Gate Apartments, a complex of single-storey wood frame buildings where they piled up mattresses around themselves for protection.

Around 30 million people across six states are under a hurricane watch and more than 375,000 people on the coast were told to evacuate, though many have ignored the emergency order.

Forecasters said it would unleash damaging wind and rain all the way into the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence's epic flooding.

"Hurricane Michael is an unprecedented event and can not be compared to any of our previous events".

- Lingering Tropical Storm Leslie became a hurricane again late Tuesday and remained a minimal hurricane early Wednesday with maximum winds of 75 miles per hour.

Residents of Georgia and Alabama have been hit with power blackouts after the hurricane crossed into the southeastern part of the states.

Helen Neal, 88, and her husband, J.W. Neal, 87, preferred to take their chances in a hotel rather than in their two-story beachfront house about a mile away in Panama City.

The storm made landfall northwest of Mexico Beach around noon on Wednesday, with an eye so clear and wide it could easily be seen from space.

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Trump was briefed on the hurricane on Wednesday prior to it making landfall and said he would visit the area early next week. He has covered hurricanes in the state for decades. The planet has warmed significantly over the past several decades, causing changes in the environment.

"It really started as a tropical storm, and then it went to Category 1, then it was Category 2 and before you know it, it was Category 4", O'Shaughnessy said.

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.

More than 17,000 people tuned into the broadcast, including Sen.

As of 5 p.m. EDT, Michael is still a Category 3 major hurricane with its peak winds measuring 125 miles per hour. At least 51 people were killed.

That is rarefied air: only three storms have hit the U.S.at Category 5: an unnamed storm that devastated the Florida Keys in 1935; Camille, which hit MS in 1969; and Andrew, which plowed across South Florida in 1992.

The Galveston Hurricane caused the greatest number of deaths on the United States mainland. Ranked as a Category 4, the disaster ruined the town's commercial industry and its status as a major port whilst claiming the lives of up to 12,000 inhabitants.

Meteorologists use another measure to evaluate hurricane intensity: central pressure. The name Fifi was removed from the rotating list of hurricane names due to high number of fatalities.

In the case of Michael the damage will be mainly from wind rather than rain. The island struggled to provide effective and quick relief to its citizens and for its infrastructure.

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