Destructive Hurricane Michael onshore, approaching Southern Georgia

Destructive Hurricane Michael onshore, approaching Southern Georgia

Destructive Hurricane Michael onshore, approaching Southern Georgia

The National Weather Service issued multiple tornado warnings in Georgia as Hurricane Michael pushed through the state, and local media report three of them may have touched down.

It forced more than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast to evacuate as it gained strength quickly while crossing the eastern Gulf of Mexico toward north Florida. This drone video of shows the destruction at the school.

A risky storm surge continued along the coastal Florida panhandle; a National Ocean Service station in Apalachicola was reporting 5 feet of water above the ground level.

The hurricane is packing devastating winds as high as 150 miles per hour, and is the most powerful storm in recorded history for this part of the Florida coast.

Corelogic noted the compact nature of hurricane Michael, which will have limited the size of the swathe of damage on landfall, but the storm surge has impacted a wide area from Mobile, AL to Tampa, FL, with the maximum storm surge anticipated to be east of Panama City to coastal cities south of Tallahassee, the firm said.

'Continuous lightning is present on the forward edge of the eyewall, and lightning detection on the rear edge rotate with specific sections of the eye'.

Extreme winds from Hurricane Michael gutted roofs and facades of beachfront condominiums in Panama City Beach, Fla., sending debris to the streets below. Beachfront structures could be seen collapsing and metal roofing materials were blown away amid the heavy rain.

"We have massive amounts of food and water that gets brought in immediately as it's leaving".

State officials issued disaster declarations in Alabama and Georgia and the storm is also expected to bring heavy rainfall to North and SC.

Florida braces for lethal floods as hurricane nears
Florida State University said its campuses in Tallahassee and Panama City would be closed from Tuesday through Friday. The governor warned people who live in the Big Bend and Florida Panhandle to prepare for flooding and high winds.

About 3,500 Florida National Guard troops were deployed, along with more than 1,000 search-and-rescue personnel, Governor Scott said.

A vehicle is seen caught in floodwaters in Panama City, Fla.

In Panama City Beach, a building that was still under construction didn't stand a chance against Michael.

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".

More than 5,000 evacuees sought shelter in Tallahassee, which is about 40km from the coast but is covered by live oak and pine trees that can fall and cause power outages even in smaller storms.

As the storm heads over North Carolina and Virginia, heavy rain is forecast with up to nine inches of rain forecast for those two states. That sort of timetable can make evacuations more hard to manage.

The storm's rapid intensification gave emergency officials and residents little time to prepare.

Winds gusts of around 60 miles per hour were reported in towns near the Georgia-Alabama border, according to the National Weather Service. In recorded history, a storm of this intensity has never happened in the Florida Panhandle. The most likely cause for such sudden changes? More than 40,000 people lost power across the state.

Scientists have long warned that global warming will make storms more destructive, and some say the evidence for this may already be visible.

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