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11 October 2018, 11:36 | Edward Lowe
A structure in Panama City Beach was no match for Michael's winds, as the home under construction collapsed an hour prior to the Category 4 storm's eyewall coming ashore.
Maximum sustained winds are forecast to be in the range of 40 to low 50 miles per hour range, according to the NWS.
The storm's intensity waned steadily as it pushed inland and curled northeasterly into Georgia after dark. 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.
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. Forecasters said it will unleash damaging wind and rain all the way into the Carolinas, still recovering from Hurricane Florence's epic flooding. Up to a foot (30 cm) of rainfall was forecast for some areas.
The Gadsden County Sheriff's office said that a man was found dead in his home in a small town outside of Tallahassee after a tree crashed through the roof.
It made landfall on the coast as a Category 1 hurricane on September 14 and drenched some parts of the state with 101cm (40 inches) of rain.
In hard-hit Mexico Beach, Florida, houses are submerged in roof-high water with the remains of blown-apart buildings scattered in the flooding.
Scientists have long warned that global warming will make storms more destructive, and some say the evidence for this may already be visible.
Scott had earlier said the hurricane would bring "unimaginable devastation" and said he was "scared to death" for those who ignored evacuation orders.
"My God, it's scary. I know that there's a lot of bad stuff that happened out there on the Panhandle, but I think that we were very fortunate here", Lake City resident Tyler Flanagan said.
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The deadliest hurricane on record cost the lives of about 20,000 people, with most of the damage and fatalities occurring in Barbados and surrounding islands. It also set off transformer explosions and knocked out power to more than 190,000 homes and businesses.
"We are catching some hell" was how a Panama City Beach resident who chose to ride it out described Michael as it made landfall. Wind damage was also evident.
"There are so many downed power lines and trees that it's nearly impossible to get through the city", Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson said. Only the 1935 storm and Camille had lower pressures, Mr. Klotzbach said.
Its collision with the Florida coast so far has been stunning and violent.
It was the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S.in almost 50 years. Emergency managers say they don't know how many left the area, but there were about 6000 people in 80 shelters in five states, including almost 1200 who are still in shelters following Hurricane Florence.
Florida Panhandle boarding up for hurricane Michael
Beachfront structures could be seen collapsing and metal roofing materials were blown away amid the heavy rain. The most likely cause for such sudden changes? In all, more than 400 people died in Florida.
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