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11 October 2018, 05:26 | Dale Webster
Mark Wallheiser via Getty Images
Mitchell Pope tries to salvage what he can from his mobile home on Oct. 10 in Saint Marks
Hurricane Michael is one of the most powerfulstorms ever to hit the USA, and the proof is strewn across miles of Florida's coastline: Roofs and awnings peeled from buildings, pieces of homes scattered amid snapped trees and downed power lines, chunks of beaches washed away.
"Heavy rain associated with Tropical Storm Michael will continue into this afternoon, tapering off as the storm moves east", the National Weather Service said.
By early Thursday, the ferocious storm's winds had slowed to 50 miles per hour as it crossed Georgia.
Ricketts called for Michael to be a tropical depression, or a post-tropical depression, by the time it gets to the WTOP listening area, and to be pushed off the coast of Virginia by the cold front.
The stunning scope of Hurricane Michael's rampage started coming into focus Thursday, as dawn in Panama City, Florida revealed a sprawling mess of nearly unimaginable devastation wrought by the third-most powerful hurricane in recorded history to lash the US mainland. They said Michael could be the strongest hurricane to hit that stretch of coastline in 13 years.
About four hours after the hurricane made landfall, the eye of the storm was leaving the Florida Panhandle and approaching southeastern Alabama and southwest Georgia, the NHC said.
After there, the storm will move up through the Carolinas, hit by heavy rains form Hurricane Florence just a few weeks ago.
Hurricane Michael caused a transformer to explode as the storm hit the southern portion of Alabama on October 10.
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. The NHC said Michael could cause a storm surge of up to 14 feet, for instance.
As winds started to topple trees in Tallahassee, one of them landed on Joe Marino's chimney.
Measured in this way the lower the pressure the stronger the hurricane - Michael was the most powerful since Hurricane Camille in 1969. Other parts of the state in the path of the storm have reported storm surges of up to 5 feet. "Confidence is high that some significant impacts will occur in our area", said an early-morning update for the western Carolinas including Charlotte. The roar of the winds, he said, sounded like a jet engine.
Meteorologists watched satellite imagery in complete awe as the storm intensified.
"We are in new territory", National Hurricane Centre Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook.
She said the incident was "debris-related".
Colorado State University hurricane expert Phil Klotzbach said in an email: "I really fear for what things are going to look like there tomorrow at this time".
"Going back through records to 1851 we can't find another Cat 4 in this area, so this is unfortunately a historical and incredibly risky and life-threatening situation", he said.
Warmer water acts as fuel for a hurricane, helping it develop into a more destructive, windier storm. Soon enough, Mexico Beach's emerald waters and white sugar-sand beaches were covered in a dark sea of splintered debris, she said. Four pine trees had crashed through the roof of her apartment, almost hitting two people.
Michael: Most violent United States hurricane since 1969
Brock Long , head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said early evacuation efforts in the area were slow. Warmer water acts as fuel for a hurricane , helping it develop into a more destructive, windier storm.
Michael upgraded to hurricane, heads toward Florida
The storm was centered about 50 miles off the western tip of Cuba , and about 140 miles east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico. In Cuba on Sunday, Michael was expected to dump as much as 12 inches (30 cm) of rain in western parts of the island.
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