Columbia should be gravely concerned about Hurricane Michael, mayor says

Columbia should be \gravely concerned\ about Hurricane Michael, mayor says

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

Tropical Storm Sergio Tracking Toward Mexico's Baja Peninsula; Moisture Will Enhance Rainfall in Southwest,Southern Plains Late Week

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

High winds led to the death of an 11-year-old girl in Seminole County, Georgia, EMA Director Travis Brooks told The Washington Post early Thursday morning. The girl had been inside a trailer home in an unincorporated area of the county near Lake Seminole, close to the Florida-Georgia border. From what officials could determine, Brooks said, it looked like a metal carport used to store boats had been lifted in the air by the gusting winds and had flipped over. When it landed, its legs crashed through the roof of a neighboring mobile home and hit the girl in the head.

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.

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.

The center of Michael is now pushing into North Carolina with its broad area of rain from the Upstate South Carolina to Virginia and West Virginia.

Winds gusted to 50-55 mph, at times, in Augusta, Georgia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Thursday morning. There have been a number of reports of trees and power lines downed in eastern Georgia and South Carolina, including in the Columbia metro area.

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.

Fooding was also reported on Interstate 26 and the Interstate 126 interchange on the northwest side of Columbia early Thursday morning. Ten homes were flooded in Irmo, South Carolina, requiring some evacuations.

In North Carolina, a swift water rescue was needed due to flooding near Old Fort, and significant street flooding was reported in Hendersonville and Boone.

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

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.

Another storm brings flooding: Just weeks after being slammed by Hurricane Florence, the Carolinas are yet again seeing impacts from a tropical system. On Thursday morning, flooding was reported in parts of western North Carolina after hours of heavy rain overwhelmed rivers and streams. Several roads in Boone, North Carolina, were impacted the floodwaters Thursday morning, the city's police department tweeted.

– Tropical-storm-force (39-plus mph) winds are possible through much of the Carolinas into 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.

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.

Georgia Power preparing for anticipated outages in Michael aftermath

– Total rainfall of 4 to 7 inches is expected from the Carolinas and southern Virginia to the southern Delmarva Peninsula, 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.

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.

– 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.

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.

Mexico Beach woman documents Michaels devastation on Instagram

– 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.

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.

Video: Supercharged Storm Hits Florida 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.

Gadsden County Sheriffs Office spokeswoman Anglie Hightower says they received a call around 6 p.m. Wednesday, saying a tree had crashed through the roof of the mans Greensboro home and trapped him.

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.

The National Hurricane Center's Storm Surge Unit, estimated peak storm surge inundation of 9 to 14 feet above ground likely occurred from Mexico Beach through Apalachee Bay, a location notorious for storm surge even from less intense tropical cyclones. 

Emergency crews were heading to the home, but downed power lines and blocked roads were making the trip difficult.

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. 

Authorities say a Florida Panhandle man was killed by a falling tree as Hurricane Michael tore through the state.

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.

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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.

Orlando International Airport tweeted and reassured passengers by saying: #Michael is not expected to cause a major impact to MCO operations, but check with your airline for the latest flight status before heading to the airport.

Stretch of I-10 closed for debris removal

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

Only American Airlines has cancelled a flight from the UK as a result of the hurricane. It is their service from London Heathrow to Raleigh Durham Airport in North Carolina, which is mainly aimed at business travellers. 

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.

The category four storm – which was 350 miles across – barreled into the Florida Panhandle with winds of 155mph, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. It was the most powerful storm to ever hit the region.

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

You should monitor local and international weather updates from the US National Hurricane Center and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation or “shelter in place” orders.

– Florida: 129 mph at Tyndall AFB; 89 mph in Apalachicola; 71 mph in Tallahassee- Alabama: 68 mph in Dothan- Georgia: 115 mph in Donalsonville; 70 mph in Albany- South Carolina: 55 mph in Myrtle Beach; 52 mph near Charleston

The ominous, unmistakable rhythm of a hurricanes rains — drizzle, followed by unhinged gushing, and then drizzle again — unnerved the coast on Wednesday morning hours before the fullest ravages began. And then the force of the hurricane tore through, cracking walls, toppling heavy metal fences and flattening cars with lampposts while people, unable or unwilling to evacuate, huddled in closets and stairwells. Entire counties seemed to rumble with the sounds of screeching winds that pushed rain sideways across streets. Lights flickered, and then they went dark.

Video: Extensive devastation after Hurricane Michael blasts Florida Panhandle

Rainfall from Michael has now topped 6 inches in a few locations, but has been held down somewhat, primarily due to Michael's more rapid forward movement compared to Florence. Here are some notable rainfall totals by state:

Video: Extensive devastation after Hurricane Michael blasts Florida Panhandle

Officials worry Hurricane Michael death toll could rise as crews struggle to access hard-hit areas

– Florida: 5.26 inches at Sumatra; 3.17 inches in Tallahassee; 2.61 inches in Panama City- Alabama: 5.54 inches in Ozark; 4.92 inches in Dothan; 1.60 inches in Montgomery- Georgia: 6.48 inches near Powder Springs; 3.37 inches in Macon- South Carolina: 6.01 inches near Hartsville; 4.47 inches in Columbia- North Carolina: 9.62 inches near Black Mountain; 6.75 inches near Boone; 2.95 inches in Asheville- Virginia: 5.75 inches near White Gate; 1.40 inches in Blacksburg

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

When they started a couple of days ago and said it was going to be a Category 1, it was, like, Cat 1, no big deal, Laurie Hamm said at the Panama City hotel where she had taken refuge a few miles from her townhouse nearer the beach. When they said Cat 2, it was like, Oh, maybe wed better pay attention. And when they said Cat 3, it was like, Oh, Lord.

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

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.

Unimaginable destruction: Hurricane smashes rows of houses

Are you affected by Hurricane Michael? Text, iMessage or WhatsApp your videos, photos and stories to CNN when its safe: 347-322-0415

(CNN)What used to be a gorgeous beachfront city now looks like an apocalyptic mess after Hurricane Michael shredded Mexico Beach, Florida.

Michael devastates Florida PanhandleLive updatesTheir stores grand opening was this week. Michael left it in ruinsFamily awaits word on loved ones whove gone quiet Floridas Mexico Beach is in tattersThe damage in picturesThe strongest hurricane to hit continental US since 1992 How you can help

Hurricane Michael to Test Floridas Unique Insurance Market

CNNs Jason Hanna, Christina Maxouris, Emanuella Grinberg, AnneClaire Stapleton, Michael Guy and Amanda Watts contributed to this report.


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