Hurricane Michael Makes Landfall

Communications outages and roads blocked by downed trees, strewn power lines and debris made it hard to get an overall assessment on Thursday of the damage wrought by Michael, but the initial picture was grim.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency urged people to avoid using roads as excessive rainfall from the storm may lead to flash floods. It was the most powerful hurricane on record to hit the Panhandle.

Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday as a "potentially catastrophic" Category 4 storm - the strongest hurricane on record to hit the area - and continued to charge north, wreaking havoc and prompting emergencies. It pushed a wall of seawater inland, causing widespread flooding.

The eye of Category 4 Hurricane Michael showed an absolute calm when it made landfall in the Florida Panhandle, while images of the storm's aftermath show pure destruction.

"My home was built in 1962 is the only one with a solid roof left", Golding said.

Search and rescue teams have fanned out across affected regions to reach trapped people.

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

Locals offered to go to addresses to see if houses had survived or if residents were there.

"We lost our dock".

'It's going to be pretty dark without her, ' he said. "All these electrical poles and water lines are busted". Up to a foot (30 cm) of rainfall was forecast for some areas from Michael.

Another storm chaser, Mark Sudduth, tweeted: "Drove from Panama City nearly to Mexico Beach and I can tell you this is the worst damage from wind that I have ever seen!"


Brandon and Sydni Troupe were preparing for the grand opening this weekend of their new Panama City business when Michael hit.

"Pine forests were no longer - they were all sticks that were broken in two", Nelson, a Democrat, told Fox News.

The small Gulf Coast community of Mexico Beach was known as a slice of Old Florida.

And, impressively, Michael's top sustained winds are growing again, to near 65 miles per hour (100 kph) at 5 a.m., with forecasters saying it will grow stronger still.

- A 38-year-old man was killed while he was driving and a tree fell on his vehicle in Statesville, North Carolina.

The hurricane disrupted power supply to 7 lakh homes and businesses in Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Only Hurricane Camille on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969 and the so-called Labor Day hurricane of 1935 in the Florida Keys were more intense. There's a minor storm surge still along the North Carolina coast, gale-force winds may continue for a few more hours over the southern Chesapeake Bay area, and several inches of rain is expected from New Jersey up through Cape Cod, Massachusetts. "You want to check on things and begin the recovery process", Scott said. "We will spare no effort, no expense, no resource to help these great fellow citizens of ours who are going through a tough time right now".

The National Hurricane Center downgraded Michael to a tropical storm early Thursday, saying its maximum winds had dropped below the threshold for a hurricane.

"Anytime you have a significant storm surge event, roadways and bridges are greatly impacted and you have to survey those before you move power crews in", Long said.

The Coast Guard said it rescued at least 27 people before and after the hurricane's landfall, mostly from coastal homes.

U.S. Gulf of Mexico producers have cut oil output by 32 percent and natural gas output by 13 percent due to lingering effects of Michael, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said on Friday, citing reports from 27 companies.


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