Hurricane Michael weakens into a tropical storm over central Georgia

11 October, 2018, 11:39 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Infared satellite imagery shows Hurricane Michael in the Gulf of Mexico on Oct. 10

Michael had top sustained winds of 150 miles per hour as its core moved over Florida's Panhandle earlier in the afternoon as forecasters warned rain could reach up to a foot and the life-threatening storm surge could swell to 14 feet (4m).

Michael has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it continues slamming Georgia with heavy rain and risky winds.

It appeared to be so powerful that it was expected to remain a hurricane as it moved into Alabama and Georgia early Thursday.

This is preferred by Klotzbach, who explains that it is more precise for historical comparisons because it is measured precisely by an airplane flying in the middle of the storm's eye, whereas "wind is going to be different everywhere along the hurricane".

Half a million people were advised to evacuate, but officials said Wednesday morning that it was too late to flee and residents who haven't already left should hunker down.

A day after the supercharged storm crashed ashore amid white sand beaches, fishing towns and military bases, Michael was no longer a Category 4 monster packing 250 km/h winds.

As the Category 4 storm's center crossed nearby, Mulligan said, the concrete building shook and vibrated against sustained winds around 155 miles per hour.

Hurricane Michael started whipping up large swell in the Florida's Panhandle region.

"It's going to be awful", Thomas told CNN.

It made landfall on the coast as a Category 1 hurricane on September 14 and drenched some parts of the state with 40 inches (101 centimeters) of rain. Florida Governor Rick Scott called for residents along the coast to seek refuge immediately.


Downed powerlines are seen after hurricane Michael passed through the downtown area on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida.

"We are catching some hell" was how a Panama City Beach resident who chose to ride it out described Michael as it made landfall.

"Going back through records to 1851 we can't find another Cat 4 in this area, so this is unfortunately a historical and incredibly risky and life-threatening situation", he said.

Around 375,000 people were under either mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders across 18 counties in Florida in preparation of the storm, and a state of emergency had been declared in 35 counties prior to the storm making landfall.

"Where homes were, they are not", Ginger Zee, ABC's chief meteorologist, said in a video posted on Twitter.

President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration for Florida, freeing up federal funds for relief operations and providing the assistance of FEMA, which has more than 3,000 people on the ground.

The National Hurricane Center predicts Michael will stay a powerful and unsafe rainmaker as it moves across the U.S. Southeast and off the Mid-Atlantic coast before heading out to sea by Friday.

Previous year 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.

"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.

In the case of Michael the damage will be mainly from wind rather than rain.

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