Hurricane Michael weakens to Category 1 storm: NHC

Christopher Davidson
October 11, 2018

With maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, Michael made landfall Wednesday afternoon as a strong Category 4 storm near Panama City, Florida.

Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the most powerful hurricane to blow ashore on the United States mainland since Camille in 1969.

Live footage from the International Space Station posted to Twitter by NASA showed the enormity of Michael's reach as it made landfall. That's just 2 miles per hour away from officially being a Category 5 hurricane.

"I'm anxious about my daughter and grandbaby". I don't know where they are. "I'm praying to God people will be safe".

In Panama City Beach, the sound of the storm was unmistakable, more like a jetliner at takeoff. Surges of as high as 14 feet are expected around where Michael made landfall near Apalachicola, Florida.

Patterson was one of about 2,500 of the town's 3,500 residents who ended up staying put, many of them caught off guard by the storm's rapid escalation as it approached. It's very, very scary.

The storm continued on its destructive path, bringing heavy rains and tearing down trees.

Officials urged residents to heed evacuation orders, particularly in coastal areas where some mandatory evacuations are already under way.

"Where that becomes a factor is with the evacuation of some of the local populations", he said. Downgraded to a tropical storm early Thursday over south Georgia, it continued to weaken overnight but was still menacing the Southeast with heavy rains, blustery winds and possible spinoff tornadoes.

"Satellite images of Michael's evolution on Tuesday night were, in a word, jaw-dropping", wrote Bob Henson, a meteorologist with weather site Weather Underground. It looks more like the popular spring break spot is getting bombed than hit by a storm. "The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no Category 4 hurricane ever hitting the Florida Panhandle".

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Michael began dashing homes into pieces and flooding neighborhoods shortly after crossing near Mexico Beach as a Category 4 storm.

"In some sense it's a matter of chance that a hurricane happens to hit land just when it's peaking like this one", he said.

But many people living in counties farther east in North Central Florida were spared. He was briefed by FEMA's Long in the Oval Office on preparations. Some 17,000 utility restoration workers were also on call.

Information from the Associated Press was used to supplement this report.

Hurricane-force winds extended up to 45 miles (72 kilometers) from Michael's center at the height of the storm.

"We just finished renovating and updating", she said. "We're kind of getting crushed", Franklin County Sheriff A.J.

Gov. Scott also reported that 2,500 National Guard troops were now active in the state, along with 350 State Troopers backing them up.

Forecasters said it would unleash damaging wind and rain all the way into the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence's epic flooding.

Michael is predicted to be a tropical storm by the time it reaches the SC border with Georgia, according to the National Weather Service. Up to a foot (30 cm) of rainfall was forecast for some areas.

A state of emergency has been declared in several dozen counties along Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend regions.

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