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.
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.
Early reports arrive of crop damage in southwest Ga.
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.
CNNs Jason Hanna, Emanuella Grinberg, AnneClaire Stapleton, Michael Guy and Amanda Watts contributed to this report.
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.
As feared earlier in the week, the state’s large cash crops of cotton, peanuts and pecans, collectively $2 billion to the Georgia economy, were particularly vulnerable, because they were in the midst of harvest. In southwest Georgia at the Florida line, the storm arrived still classified as a Category 3 storm, with winds of at least 111 mph — strong enough to not just swamp crops still in the field, but to damage structures.
Images, video showing Michaels destruction emerge: All the houses are submerged
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.
As daylight arrived Thursday morning, the full extent of damage Hurricane Michael did to Georgia’s farms began to come into view. Early reports are still arriving to the state agriculture commissioner’s office, which will soon put a dollar value on the losses.
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.
Early County farmer Phil Buckhalter, 57, raced Michael, harvesting cotton until he had to stop at 3 a.m. Tuesday and resign himself to the storm. He awoke Thursday morning to devastation.
– 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.
– 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.
Video: Falling kittens rescued from Hurricane Michael
Mexico Beach left in ruins by Michael
– 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.
Video: Michael moving through Georgia after devastating Florida Panhandle
British travellers in Florida tourist hotspots escape the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael
– 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.
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.
News outlets work through power loss: In Panama City Beach, WJHG-TV employees were told they could evacuate the station if they felt unsafe, but a few remained inside the building, according to reporter Danielle Ellis. The station lost power a few hours later. The Panama City News Herald lost power and stayed in operation using a backup generator, but did not have internet access at the office.
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.
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.
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.
Waiting ends: Michael makes landfall with 155 mph winds
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.
At one time, it was estimated over 200 roads in the city of Tallahassee were blocked by fallen trees.
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.
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.
A bingo parlor is seen at dawn 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. (
Video: Hurricane Michael: Heavy Rain And Winds Devastate Florida | TODAY
Officials shift to search and rescue after devastating Michael
Michael also shattered Panama City's all-time low pressure record, which had stood from Hurricane Kate in 1985.
Though Cook has called himself a “a proud son of the South,” his relationship with the socially conservative community where he grew up is complicated. When Cook came out as gay in 2014, Robertsdale Mayor Charles Murphy suggested that he should have kept his sexual orientation private. “Tim has done a good job with Apple. Were very proud of the accomplishments that hes made,” he told Reuters. “Sometimes peoples personal lives need to stay personal.”
Video: Hurricane Michael: Heavy Rain And Winds Devastate Florida | TODAY
– 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
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. Darkness concealed the full extent of the damage left behind, but a second death was reported early Thursday, apparently caused by debris crashing through a mobile home and killing a child inside.
Video: Hurricane Michael: Heavy Rain And Winds Devastate Florida | TODAY
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:
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.
– 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
Devastating footage pours in from ravaged Florida Panhandle
Michael first developed as Tropical Depression Fourteen on Oct. 7 east of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
Man killed in Florida home by fallen tree during Hurricane Michael
Michael rapidly intensified from a tropical depression to Category 1 hurricane in just 24 hours ending 11 a.m. EDT Oct. 8.
Live video: Florida officials hold news conference on Hurricane Michael
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.
PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Hurricane Michael, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the continental United States, slammed into the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, unleashing a trail of destruction across 200 miles that splintered houses, peeled off roofs and stirred up a terrifying surge of seawater that submerged entire neighborhoods and sent boats careening down city streets.
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.
Drone footage shows massive damage to a school, collapsed buildings and rubble from Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida
The area has two nicknames: To the west, it is the Emerald Coast, named for the blue-green waters of the Gulf; to the east, it is the Forgotten Coast, intended to evoke the peaceful quiet of rural beaches. As the states economy has broadly flourished, parts of the Panhandle, once dependent on paper mills and the lumber industry, have struggled.
The Latest: Water rescues happen in North Carolina mountains
The stunning scope of Hurricane Michael's deadly rampage started coming into focus Thursday, as dawn in Panama City, Florida revealed a sprawling mess of almost unimaginable devastation wrought by the third-most powerful hurricane in recorded history to lash the U.S. mainland.
Delta cancels 80 flights due to Hurricane Michael, Hartsfield-Jackson monitoring storm
Michael is now a tropical storm and, as of Thursday afternoon, was pushing its way across South Carolina — while also lashing North Carolina and Virginia with strong winds and heavy rains amid a tornado threat.
Hurricane Michael made landfall around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, just north of Mexico Beach, as a Category 4 storm with 155 mph sustained winds — just 1 mph below the threshold for a Category 5 designation. The storm blasted the Florida Panhandle and southwest Georgia with wicked winds and killed at least seven people.
In Panama City, located just west of where the monster storm made landfall, drone video taken by storm chaser Brett Adair shows how the winds and rain ravaged a middle school.
Jinks Middle School took such a hit from the hurricane that Adair was able to fly the drone right through the school's gym, where Michael's fierce gusts peeled back the roof and collapsed walls. Not that everything was ripped apart: Even with debris lining the basketball court, a volleyball net remained taut and in place, awaiting the next match.
The volleyball net remains standing at Jinks Middle School in Panama City after Hurricane Michael tore through. (Brett Adair)
There were at least 5 confirmed fatalities in Bay County alone, a Panama City Police source told Fox News. Authorities are still going house-to-house and are asking people to stay out of the city because roads are blocked, and there is no power or phone service. The law enforcement source, who called the situation "catastrophic," said that evacuess should remain where they are and not come back for the time being.
Elsewhere in Panama City, downed power lines, uprooted trees and buildings with tops peeled open like soup cans littered the landscape. As of Thursday afternoon, more than 300,00 customers were without power in Florida and nearly 280,000 customers in the dark in Georgia.
Emergency management officials are urging residents to stay off the streets until utility crews and other service providers finish clearing away hazardous obstacles.
Damage to beachfront condominiums in Panama City Beach, Fla. from Hurricane Michael (Jonathan Serrie/Fox News)
Vance Beu, who was staying at an apartment complex with his mother, told the Associated Press the storm had "super high-pitched" roar and sounded like "a jet engine was coming."
"It was terrifying, honestly. There was a lot of noise. We thought the windows were going to break at any time," Beu said.
Extreme winds from Hurricane Michael gutted roofs and facades of beachfront condominiums in Panama City Beach, Fla., sending debris to the streets below.
Michael made history as one of the top four strongest hurricanes to strike the United States
Rescue workers are set to spend Thursday picking carefully through the wreckage in neighborhoods where people did not evacuate before Michael slammed the area. FEMA administrator Brock Long told "FOX & Friends" on Thursday that crews were only able to do "limited" search and rescue operations before nightfall.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said at a briefing on Thursday morning that so many families across the region have "lost everything."
Stay off the roads until Michaels winds and rain pass, Gov. Roy Cooper says
"This morning, Florida's Gulf Coast, Panhandle and Big Bend are waking up to unimaginable destruction," Scott said. "This hurricane was an absolute monster."
Rescue personnel search amidst debris in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
The top focus for officials on Thursday is search and rescue, including a survey of the hardest-hit areas.
Supercharged overnight, Hurricane Michael menaces Florida
"Homes are gone. Businesses are gone. Roads and infrastructure along the storm's path have been destroyed," the governor said.
Some of the worst damage was in Mexico Beach, where Michael crashed ashore and brought a storm surge of 9 feet. Entire blocks of homes near the beach were obliterated, leaving nothing but concrete slabs in the sand. Rows and rows of other homes were reduced to piles of splintered debris or were crumpled and slumped at odd angles.
4 reasons Hurricane Michael was so devastating
Debris scatters an area in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
The mayor of Mexico Beach told Fox News that around 280 people had refused to leave ahead of the hurricane despite a mandatory evacuation order. A National Guard team got into Mexico Beach and found 20 survivors overnight, and more crews were pushing into the area by afternoon, with the fate of many residents unknown.
By the numbers: Michael ranked as 3rd-most intense hurricane to hit continental US
Besides the death's in Bay County, a Florida man killed by a tree that crashed through his roof and an 11-year-old Georgia girl who died when a car port rammed the family's mobile home.
Live updates: Michael kills 2, leaves trail of devastation in Florida as it spins across the Southeast
At Tyndall Air Force Base, which took a direct hit from Michael, base officials said Thursday that they have found "widespread catastrophic damage" during an initial assessment of the facility.
Earlier this week, more than 50 F-22 stealth fighter jets were evacuated along with base personnel as the massive storm approached. As of Thursday, recovery teams conducted an initial assessment of portions of base housing and found "widespread roof damage" to nearly every home.
Hurricane Michael heads northeast, leaving devastation in Florida
“At this point, Tyndall residents and evacuated personnel should remain at their safe location,” Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander, said in a statement. “We are actively developing plans to reunite families and plan to provide safe passage back to base housing.”
Rick Reichmuth, Fox News' chief meteorologist, said Michael was the fourth-most powerful storm to make landfall in the U.S. when measuring by wind, and the third-most powerful in terms of pressure, at 919 mb. Michael was the first storm of its magnitude to make landfall in the Panhandle since record-keeping there began in 1851.
Fox News Rick Leventhal and Jonathan Serrie in Panama City Beach, Fox News Lucas Tomlinson, Stephen Sorace and The Associated Press contributed to this report.