Red Cross volunteers in Bridgeport get ready to head south

Red Cross volunteers in Bridgeport get ready to head south

Photos: Hurricane Michael strikes Florida Panhandle

Tropical Storm Michael is accelerating through the Carolinas with a threat of high wind gusts and flooding rain from the southern Appalachians to parts of the East Coast into early Friday.

Michael made landfall as a catastrophic, unprecedented Florida Panhandle Category 4 hurricane early Wednesday afternoon. For a full summary on Michael's destructive storm surge flooding, winds and heavy rain, scroll down to our recap section below.

The home of the 325th Fighter Wing and some 600 military families appeared squarely targeted for the worst of the storm's fury, and leaders declared HURCON 1 status, ordering out all but essential personnel. The base's aircraft, which include F-22 Raptors, were flown hundreds of miles away as a precaution. Forecasters predicted 9 to 14 feet of water at Tyndall. The evacuation order was to continue "until further notice," the base said.

Hurricane Michael downgraded to Category 3; officials warn of life-threatening storm surge

The center of Michael is now pushing through South Carolina, with its broad area of rain from the Appalachians to Georgia.

"On the forecast track, the core of Michael will move across southwestern and central Georgia tonight, and move through east-central Georgia Thursday morning," the advisory said. "Michael will then move northeastward across the southeastern United States through late Thursday, and then move off the Mid-Atlantic coast by early Friday."

Winds have gusted up to around 50 mph, at times, in Augusta, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. There have been a number of reports of trees downed in eastern Georgia and South Carolina, including in the Columbia metro area.

After lashing the coast of Florida, rainfall up to 12 inches is possible and may cause flash-flooding inland, the NHC said. But unlike Hurricane Florence, Michael will accelerate Wednesday night and Thursday, preventing any long-term flooding from rainfall, according to Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean.

Some flooding was also reported on Interstate 26 and the Interstate 126 interchange on the northwest side of Columbia early Thursday morning. A swift water rescue was needed due to flooding near Old Fort, North Carolina, and significant street flooding was reported in Hendersonville and Boone, North Carolina.

Winds have long-since diminished in the hardest-hit parts of the Florida Panhandle, southwest Georgia and southeast Alabama.

MIAMI  — Floridas Panhandle is littered with evidence that Hurricane Michael is one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the mainland United States. Roofs and awnings are peeled from buildings, pieces of homes are scattered amid snapped trees and downed power lines, chunks of beaches are washed away. Michael thrashed Georgia as a hurricane and eventually weakened to a tropical storm early Thursday as it moved toward the Carolinas, soaking areas that got swamped last month by Hurricane Florence.

Images, video showing Michaels destruction emerge: All the houses are submerged

Tropical storm warnings remain in effect from Altamaha Sound, Georgia to Duck, North Carolina, in the northern Outer Banks, including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds. These warnings also extend inland over much of the Carolinas and eastern Georgia. 

Michael is shaking up the upcoming election in the battleground state of Florida. The hurricane has given national exposure to Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum , the Democrat running against Republican Ron DeSantis. The publicity could backfire if recovery is delayed ahead of Election Day. President Donald Trump has endorsed Scott and DeSantis.

Verizon offers free calling, text and data for Alabama and Florida customers impacted by Hurricane Michael

The center of Michael will continue to accelerate to the east-northeast through Thursday night across the Carolinas into southeast Virginia, then move off the East Coast out to sea by Friday as a post-tropical low.

Many flights were canceled in the hurricane zone, and Amtrak changed some train schedules to protect passengers and employees. Silver Star trains from New York to Miami were only running from Miami to Jacksonville. The Palmetto between New York and Savannah, Georgia, is only running between New York and Washington beginning Thursday.

– Tropical-storm-force (39-plus mph) winds are possible from eastern Georgia through much of the Carolinas through Thursday night or Friday.- These winds are capable of downing trees and triggering additional power outages in these areas. This is a particular concern in areas where soil is still saturated from Florence's torrential rain in northeastern South Carolina and North Carolina.- Metro areas that may experience additional power outages through Thursday night include: Columbia, Charleston, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham.- Strong winds are also forecast over portions southeastern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula as Michael becomes post-tropical off the mid-Atlantic coast late Thursday night into Friday.

Michael isnt alone. The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Leslie and Tropical Storm Nadine are no threat to land over the open Atlantic Ocean, but Tropical Storm Sergio in the Pacific is blowing toward the Baja California Peninsula on a path across Mexico to the southern U.S. Plains and the Ozarks by the weekend.

– Total rainfall of 4 to 7 inches is expected from eastern Georgia into the southern mid-Atlantic, with isolated totals up to 9 inches in North Carolina and Virginia. This will include some areas devastated by flooding from Hurricane Florence. That said, this system will move quickly rather than stall like Florence did and will, therefore, not bring extreme rainfall amounts. – The rest of the Northeast coast into southeast New England may see 1 to 3 inches of rain.

You cant drive a car anywhere, you cant do anything because its littered with houses, pieces of houses, said Patricia Mulligan, who rode out the storm with her family in a condo in Mexico Beach, a town of mom-and-pop shops and sport-fishing businesses about 35 miles southeast of Panama City. Outside, she said in a phone interview, she could see remnants of peoples lives strewn about: refrigerators, a beanbag chair, a washing machine, a kayak and a dresser.

– As is typical with tropical cyclones, isolated tornadoes will be a threat.- Thursday and Thursday night, that tornado threat will exist from the eastern Carolinas into southeast Virginia.

Researchers cannot say, however, that global warming is to blame for the specifics of the latest storm, Hurricane Michael, which grew to Category 4 with sustained winds of 155 miles an hour, as it hit the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday. Such attribution may come later, when scientists compare the real-world storm to a fantasy-world computer simulation in which humans did not pump billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

– Inundation of 2 to 4 feet above ground level is possible on the sound side of North Carolina's Outer Banks as winds from Michael pile water along those coastal areas.- Water levels are dropping along the Florida Panhandle Gulf Coast.

Hurricane Michael intensified right up to its landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, around 12:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday as a high-end Category 4 with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph and a minimum central pressure of 919 millibars.

Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said in an interview on CNN on Thursday that he was most concerned about a few areas on the Florida coast, particularly Mexico Beach, the eastern parts of Panama City, Apalachicola and around Tyndall Air Force Base. He said that it appeared that the hospital system in Panama City had suffered major damage.

Michael was the third most intense continental U.S. landfall by pressure and fourth strongest by maximum sustained winds on record. Michael was also the most intense Florida Panhandle landfall on record, the first Category 4 hurricane to do so in records dating to the mid-19th century.

Michael's storm surge produced a peak inundation of 7.72 feet above ground level at Apalachicola, Florida, Wednesday afternoon, smashing the previous record of 6.43 feet above ground set during Hurricane Dennis in July 2005. 

Meanwhile, the Waffle House near Florida State Universitys campus in Tallahassee was open for business at 12:28 a.m., with lines stretching out the door. FEMA officials famously use the Waffle House Index as a way of measuring storm damage: Since the diner chain is ubiquitous in the southeast, and rarely shuts down in extreme weather, seeing the Waffle House closed down before a storm is a sign that things are about to get extremely bad. If the Waffle House hasnt reopened after the storm, FEMA considers that a sign that the area has experienced major devastation.

Video: Michael moving through Georgia after devastating Florida Panhandle

Fast, furious: How Michael grew into a 155 mph monster

Peak inundation of 5.31 feet above ground at Panama City, Florida, was second only to Hurricane Opal in 1995. Cedar Key, Florida, saw peak inundation of just over 4 feet Wednesday afternoon.

Pets are checked in, as people seek safety in a shelter as Hurricane Michael approaches on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. – Hurricane Michael closed in on Floridas Gulf Coast on Wednesday as an “extremely dangerous” category four storm packing powerful winds and a huge sea surge, US forecasters said. The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said the storm, which local forecasters are calling an “unprecedented” weather event for the area, is expected to slam ashore later in the day with “life-threatening” storm surges.

An observing site near Tyndall Air Force Base, east of Panama City, measured a wind gust to 129 mph early Wednesday afternoon, and a gust to 107 mph was reported 1 mile south of Panama City.

A car is seen in a parking lot while flooding begins as Hurricane Michael approaches on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. – Hurricane Michael closed in on Floridas Gulf Coast on Wednesday as an “extremely dangerous” category four storm packing powerful winds and a huge sea surge, US forecasters said. The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said the storm, which local forecasters are calling an “unprecedented” weather event for the area, is expected to slam ashore later in the day with “life-threatening” storm surges.

At one time, it was estimated over 200 roads in the city of Tallahassee were blocked by fallen trees.

Alpharetta, GA – For our customers in the Florida Panhandle including coastal Alabama that will feel the effects of Hurricane Michael, Verizon Wireless is saying Weve Got Your Back. From October 10 through October 14, Verizon is providing free calling, texting and data to its postpaid and prepaid customers who reside in the areas of the Florida Panhandle including coastal Alabama that are in the direct path of the storm. We will closely monitor the storms path and impact and will make additions and adjustments as needed, and will communicate those details as those decisions are made.

Second Michael-related fatality reported, child killed in Georgia

A weather reporting station deployed by Weatherflow and the University of Florida measured a surface pressure from 920-929 millibars, an extraordinarily low pressure to measure on U.S. soil, before it was toppled, according to Shea Gibson, WeatherFlow, Inc. meteorologist.

Video: Supercharged Storm Hits Florida Coast

WATCH: Jeff Flock in Panama City Beach, FL Amid Powerful Wind Gusts From Hurricane Michael

Michael also shattered Panama City's all-time low pressure record, which had stood from Hurricane Kate in 1985. 

Verizon values the safety and security of all residents in the impacted communities, including the companys employees. Before visiting, please contact your local store as store hours may vary depending on local impact.

– Florida: 129 mph at Tyndall AFB; 89 mph in Apalachicola; 71 mph in Tallahassee- Alabama: 68 mph in Dothan- Georgia: 70 mph near Albany; 51 mph near Savannah- South Carolina: 52 mph near Charleston

Learn more about the Verizon offer for its postpaid and prepaid customers who reside in the areas of the Florida Panhandle including coastal Alabama that are in the direct path of the storm.

Delta cancels 80 flights due to Hurricane Michael, Hartsfield-Jackson monitoring storm

Rainfall from Michael has, so far, been largely less than 6 inches, primarily due to Michael's more rapid forward movement. Here are some notable rainfall totals by state:

After several more posts, she shared an image of her vantage point in her condominium at Mexico Beach Villas. What she was staring at was destruction.

– Florida: 5.26 inches at Sumatra; 3.17 inches in Tallahassee; 2.61 inches in Panama City- Alabama: 4.92 inches in Dothan; 3.96 inches in Auburn; 1.60 inches in Montgomery- Georgia: 5.95 inches near Dickey; 3.61 inches in Atlanta; 3.37 inches in Macon- South Carolina: 5.27 inches near Jefferson; 2.18 inches in Columbia- North Carolina: 3.78 inches near Boone- Virginia: 2.64 inches in Hillsville; 1.40 inches in Blacksburg

When Hurricane Michael made landfall as a powerful Category 4 storm on Wednesday, it passed directly through Mexico Beach, Florida. 

From Disturbance to Historic Monster in Just Four Days

Michael first developed as Tropical Depression Fourteen on Oct. 7 east of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Michael rapidly intensified from a tropical depression to Category 1 hurricane in just 24 hours ending 11 a.m. EDT October 8.

Tessa Talarico started to take video from her cell phone as it was happening and post what she was seeing to Instagram.

Video: ISS passes over Michael as it nears landfall

Michael continued to intensify right up to landfall, exhibiting eyewall lightning as it pushed to high-end Category 4 status slamming ashore in the Florida Panhandle.

Video: ISS passes over Michael as it nears landfall

Michael arrived in southwestern Georgia early Wednesday evening as a Category 3 major hurricane, the first hurricane of that strength to track into Georgia since the Georgia Hurricane of 1898, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach, tropical scientist at Colorado State University.

Hurricane Michael slammed into Floridas Panhandle on Wednesday, October 10, as a dangerous Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph.

Michael was the strongest storm to make landfall in the continental US since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.


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