Hurricane Michael heads northeast, leaving devastation in Florida

Hurricane Michael heads northeast, leaving devastation in Florida

Hurricane Michael heads northeast, leaving devastation in Florida

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

Even before landfall, the hurricane disrupted energy operations in the Gulf, cutting crude oil production by more than 40 percent and natural gas output by almost one-third as offshore platforms were evacuated before the storm hit.

Michael first tore apart the seaside town of Mexico Beach, arriving just before 1 p.m. with winds topping out at 155 miles per hour.

As winds subsided in Panama City, resident Reid Garrett said his concerns shifted to flooding outside his apartment complex, which surrounded by downed trees.

In Panama City Beach, a building that was still under construction didn't stand a chance against Michael. As a result, some parts of the state could see as much as a foot of rain from the storm, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday.

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"We are catching some hell" was how a Panama City Beach resident who chose to ride it out described Michael as it made landfall.

"Heavy rain associated with Tropical Storm Michael will continue into this afternoon, tapering off as the storm moves east", the National Weather Service said.

Hurricane Michael has weakened to a Category 1 storm, but is still a risky rainmaker as it travels across Georgia. The storm was the strongest to ever hit the Panhandle and the fourth Category 4 storm to hit the the past 15 months.

U.S. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for all of Florida, freeing federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses.

Hundreds of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate their homes and the governor told residents who had not done so to "hunker down and be careful".

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"Northwest Florida has never encountered a storm of this magnitude", Rogers said in a release. Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather, such as storms, droughts, floods and fires, and Michael was fueled by abnormal water temperatures in the Gulf - 4-to-5 degrees above the historic norm for this time of year.

"We haven't seen her since the tree hit the den".

Hurricane Michael also stands out because of its late arrival.

According to Climate Central, a scientific research organization, the coming decades are expected to bring hurricanes that intensify more rapidly, should there be no change in the rate of greenhouse gas emissions.

But because Florida just had its hottest September on record, Masters said, Michael was able to feed off of a Gulf of Mexico that was 2 to 4 degrees hotter than usual on average. Up to 12 inches of rain could fall in the area. Neighborhood streets flooded as waves battered the shoreline.

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Pensacola-based Gulf Power estimated that up to 225,000 of its customers could be impacted by the storm that pounded the Panhandle throughout the afternoon and into the evening.

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