Historic Hurricane Michael Downgraded to Tropical Storm, Hovers Over Georgia

by Fredrick Graves October 13, 2018, 0:34
Historic Hurricane Michael Downgraded to Tropical Storm, Hovers Over Georgia

At least two people have lost their lives following the category four "monster" storm which brought torrential rain and destroyed properties.

Michael charged ashore on Wednesday near the small Florida Panhandle town of Mexico Beach as one of the most powerful storms in US history, with top sustained winds of 155 miles per hour (250 km per hour).

Much of downtown Port St. Joe, 19 km east of Mexico Beach, was flooded after Michael snapped boats in two and hurled a large ship onto the shore, residents said.

Michael remained unsafe even though it weakened over the course of Wednesday afternoon and evening.

It's expected to weaken to a tropical storm by Thursday morning and move off into the Atlantic Ocean by early Friday. The National Hurricane Centre warned of possible spinoff tornadoes and heavy rains in Alabama and Georgia, before the storm heads for SC, already soaked by Hurricane Florence in September.

Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Fla., Wednesday with 155 miles per hour winds - just below Category 5 strength - and peeled off roofs, flooded streets and uprooted trees. Roads were impassable and canals were choked with debris.

- Top winds: 155 miles per hour, strong enough to completely destroy homes and cause weekslong power outages.

Horrific before and after photos have captured the utter devastation inflicted by Hurricane Michael after it crashed into several small towns on the Florida Panhandle with near-record force.

Florida Governor Rick Scott told the Weather Channel the damage from Panama City down to Mexico Beach was "way worse than anybody ever anticipated".

Roy Radney was outside Wednesday evening when the call came that something had come through the roof and hit Sarah and his mother. "I don't know what I'm going to", said Williams.

About 1.5 million homes and businesses were without power from Florida to Virginia early on Friday, according to utility companies. However, the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that winds picked up at certain points along the Georgia and SC coast.

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"We are still in the heat of search and rescue and do not have any information at this time", said Catie Feeney of the Bay County Emergency Services agency. "There was a tree involved".

An 11-year-old girl was killed when a tree fell onto her home as brutal Hurricane Michael tore through Georgia, officials said Thursday.

A tropical storm warning is now also in effect for Altamaha Sound, Georgia, to Duck, North Carolina, and Pamlico to Albemarle Sounds.

By early Friday it wasn't almost over yet: a tropical storm long after Wednesday's landfall, Michael stubbornly kept up its punch while barreling over land toward an expected exit across the open Atlantic.

Although weaker as it pushed over the southeastern United States, the storm carried high winds and delivered drenching rains to Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.

The sun sets late Wednesday on a wreckage-littered street in Panama City, Fla., after Category 4 Hurricane Michael arrived with winds of 155 miles per hour.

More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were ordered or urged to evacuate as Michael closed in.

President Donald Trump promised to provide speedy assistance to help recovery efforts.

The storm's center is now about 30 miles west of Augusta, Georgia, near the SC border.

Just a few weeks ago, Hurricane Florence made landfall on September 14 near Wrightsville Beach, NC.

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

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