Hurricane Michael devastates Florida with ferocity 'like nothing we've seen before'

'Monster' Hurricane Michael strengthens on its way to Florida

The hurricane damaged hospitals and nursing homes in the Panama City area, and state officials brought in ambulances to evacuate patients. "Roads are not open and you will not be able to get home if you live in or near the coast", the governor said Thursday morning. Based on wind speed, it was the fourth-strongest, behind the Labor Day storm, Camille and Andrew in 1992. Boats tossed in yards. "We have trees being uprooted, heavy, heavy rain".

About 4.2 million people are under hurricane warnings, from the Panhandle and Big Bend areas in Florida into parts of southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia.

Authorities said at least two people have died, a man killed by a tree falling on a Panhandle home and according to WMAZ-TV, an 11-year-old girl was also killed by a tree falling on a home in southwest Georgia.

SULLIVAN: That's Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Authorities are preparing to set up extra shelters and move people into more secure areas. I know this has to be very very frustrating. The hurricane hit the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm.

"This happened so quickly, we weren't exactly prepared", he said.

"There are so many downed power lines and trees that it's nearly impossible to get through the city", Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson said.

Some of the worst damage was in Mexico Beach, where Michael crashed ashore Wednesday as a Category 4 monster with 155 miles per hour (250 kph) winds and a storm surge of 9 feet (2.7 meters).

Home after home was razed from its foundations in the town of around 1,000 people. The rest were missing roofs or siding. Roads were impassable and canals were choked with debris.

Perry and Mollie Williams were riding out the storm in their "fortress" home a block from the beach, their three cats and Rottweiler in tow. "If you are in an inland county you might have one more chance to evacuate, but only if local officials say it is safe". The surge had brought stuff in. "Do not risk your life, leave NOW if you were told to do so", it said. "Our lives are gone here". "All the stores, all the restaurants, everything - there's nothing left here anymore".

"It's hard to grasp", he said.

"This was never in our imagination", he said.

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First Death Reported as Hurricane Michael Devastates Florida Panhandle
Fueled in part by above-average water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, the storm rapidly intensified at the start of this week. Residents of the neighboring state of Georgia should also expect to be heavily impacted by the storm, the FEMA head said.

Video Shows Hurricane Michael Ripping Apart Buildings in Florida
The storm hit roared ashore along the Florida Panhandle, between Tyndall Air Force Base and Mexico Beach , according to NASA . Last Thursday, forecasters were saying that what was then called Tropical Storm Michael " does not pose a threat to land ".

Some of the most concerning scenes of devastation could be seen in the air base's neighboring coastal communities of Panama City and Mexico Beach.

A storage facility in Panama City Beach housing hundreds of boats was ripped apart by the strong winds with the roof shredding into strips of twisted metal.

Michael was located about 360 miles south of Panama City and was moving north at 12 mph.

Trump previously said he intends to visit affected areas on Sunday or Monday. "We'll make it go fast".

Bill Nelson said. "You are going to see a lot of destruction when the rescue crews get into Mexico Beach".

"It's tremendous destruction", he added.

The storm "grew into a monster", President Donald Trump said Wednesday from the Oval Office.

Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, called Mexico Beach, which has a population of about 1,200, "ground zero" for the hurricane damage.

Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, on Wednesday, October 10, as a Category 4 storm.

While there is growing scientific agreement on numerous theories about the effects of climate change on storms, there are also areas where consensus has yet to develop.

A year ago saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Harvey, which caused a record-equaling $125 billion in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area.

Pressures would ultimately fall to 919 millibars, one of the lowest pressures of any hurricane at landfall in the United States - and the winds responded by amping up further to 155 miles per hour right as the storm struck the coast.

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