Deadly Hurricane Michael devastates Florida Panhandle before moving inland

At least one person is dead and hundreds of thousands of homes are without power as Hurricane Michael moves ...

Posted: Oct 11, 2018 12:33 PM
Updated: Oct 11, 2018 12:33 PM

At least one person is dead and hundreds of thousands of homes are without power as Hurricane Michael moves inland from Florida to Georgia.

Michael made landfall Wednesday around 2 p.m. ET as a Category 4 storm near Mexico Beach, Florida. The strongest storm to hit the continental US since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Michael dashed homes into pieces, swallowed marinas and left piles of rubble where shopping centers once stood.

Accidents, disasters and safety

Alabama

Coastal areas

Continents and regions

Environment and natural resources

Florida

Georgia

Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Michael

Hurricanes

Landforms and ecosystems

Natural disasters

North America

Political Figures - US

Rick Scott

Severe weather

Southeastern United States

The Americas

Tropical storms

United States

Weather

Floods and flooding

Air transportation

Airports

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Transportation and warehousing

Beaches

Destinations and attractions

Points of interest

Air pollution

Climate change

Energy and environment

Energy and utilities

Greenhouse gases

Pollution

Earth sciences

Meteorology

Science

South Carolina

Tornadoes (weather)

Utilities industry

Latin America

Mexico

Deaths and fatalities

Society

Utilities disruptions

Live updates on Hurricane Michael

Now a Category 1 storm with winds up to 75 mph, Michael appeared to be moving slower after making landfall but has since picked up speed as it moves across southwestern Georgia at about 20 mph. As of Wednesday night, the storm was about 45 miles south-southwest of Macon.

Michael is expected to continue weakening overnight, the National Hurricane Center said, and become a tropical storm by Thursday morning before it moves off into the Atlantic later this week. Meanwhile, flooding continues along the Gulf Coast, where downed trees and utility polls are making precarious rescue efforts even harder.

Key developments

• A man died after a tree fell on a home near Greensboro, Florida, the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office said.

• Nine Florida counties have enacted curfews.

• More than 500,000 customers are without power in Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

• Bay County is under a mandatory boil water notice.

• A tornado watch is in effect for much of northern Florida and south and central Georgia until 2 a.m. ET Thursday.

• Arrests have been made after reports of looting in Bay County, Florida, Congressman Neal Dunn said.

Scenes of devastation

Mexico Beach resident Patricia Mulligan said the concrete building she lives in shook and vibrated as the storm's center crossed nearby. She was among an estimated 280 Mexico Beach residents who decided not to evacuate, administrator Tanya Castor said.

When she dared to look outside, Mexico Beach's emerald waters and white sugar-sand beaches were covered in a dark sea of splintered debris, she said. Roofs were torn off homes and the marina was gone. Water levels approached the tops of palm trees.

The devastation reminded her of what she witnessed in 1992 when Andrew hit. And she estimated that it would take the same amount of time to fix the damage -- possibly months or even a year.

"We didn't think it was going to be this bad," she told CNN.

Track the storm

After making landfall near Mexico Beach around 2 p.m. ET, the eye of Michael moved inland over the Florida Panhandle east of Panama City.

Wind gusts blew out windows in homes and office buildings, including the First Federal Bank.

Stores and entire shopping centers that were turned into piles of rubble. Other buildings were stripped of their walls and roofs or ripped apart by downed trees and power lines.

Medical Sacred Heart lost its windows and sustained damage to its roof and exterior walls. The hospital said it is running off of generators and patients have been moved to safe areas of the facility.

Jason Gunderson of the Cajun Navy said flooding and downed power lines made most streets impassible. Further hindering rescue efforts were trees that had crashed into homes. In Lynn Haven, north of Panama City, he described finding one woman curled up in a fetal position in a garage with a tree over her head -- a "very dangerous, sketchy situation," he said.

"It's a sight to see, and very sad. Very horrible," Gunderson said.

Brandon and Sydni Troupe were preparing for the grand opening this weekend of their new Panama City business when Michael hit.

They said they spent the past year renovating a house with new floors, walls and a paint job. They intended to sell children's toys and host family-friendly events, a need they saw in the community. Now, a gigantic tree is lying through their store and they're not sure what to do next.

"I still can't believe it. My mind is still trying to process." Brandon Troupe said.

Across the bay in Panama City Beach, a resort city on the Gulf of Mexico known for its white-sand beach and amusement parks, winds of about 100 mph furiously whipped the trees in the early afternoon and pulled apart homes.

Rain just one of several threats

In Florida, 54 shelters are open with a population of nearly 6,700 people. A hurricane warning has been discontinued for the Gulf coast of Florida.

Tropical storm warnings were in effect for parts of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Storm surge warnings were in place along the Florida and Alabama coasts.

Up to 12 inches of rain could fall in Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend areas, as well as southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia.

Some parts of the Carolinas and southern Virginia, recently deluged by Hurricane Florence, could see up to 6 inches, the hurricane center said.

Effect of climate change

Michael's strength may reflect the effect of climate change on storms. The planet has warmed significantly over the past several decades, causing changes in the environment.

Human-caused greenhouse gases in the atmosphere create an energy imbalance, with more than 90% of remaining heat trapped by the gases going into the oceans, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association. There's evidence of higher sea surface temperature and atmospheric moisture, experts say.

While we might not get more storms in a warmer climate, most studies show storms will get stronger and produce more rain. Storm surge is worse now than it was 100 years ago, thanks to the rise in sea levels.

According to Climate Central, a scientific research organization, the coming decades are expected to bring hurricanes that intensify more rapidly, should there be no change in the rate of greenhouse gas emissions.

Get the latest delivered to your inbox: Sign up for Hurricane Michael email alerts here.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 735999

Reported Deaths: 13486
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1007151752
Lake54249977
Allen40946680
St. Joseph36335553
Hamilton35829408
Elkhart28844443
Tippecanoe22475219
Vanderburgh22367397
Porter18946311
Johnson18067381
Hendricks17317315
Clark13036192
Madison12762339
Vigo12501249
LaPorte12086215
Monroe11957172
Delaware10755187
Howard10001218
Kosciusko9466117
Hancock8373142
Bartholomew8098156
Warrick7799155
Floyd7690178
Grant7098174
Wayne7072199
Boone6745101
Morgan6611140
Dubois6166117
Marshall6111112
Cass5876105
Dearborn583178
Henry5785105
Noble565984
Jackson503773
Shelby494396
Lawrence4602120
Gibson437192
Harrison436672
DeKalb430585
Clinton428453
Montgomery425889
Whitley398739
Huntington394480
Steuben391057
Miami383968
Knox372890
Jasper372649
Putnam363760
Wabash355380
Adams342755
Ripley340770
Jefferson331881
White317754
Daviess298399
Wells292081
Decatur285992
Fayette282162
Greene280585
Posey272034
LaGrange268970
Scott267554
Clay261347
Washington242132
Randolph242081
Spencer232931
Jennings230949
Starke219354
Fountain213946
Sullivan212242
Owen203356
Jay197830
Fulton196040
Carroll190420
Orange184754
Perry184637
Rush174025
Vermillion170044
Franklin168535
Tipton163445
Parke146716
Pike135634
Blackford135132
Pulaski117445
Newton108934
Brown102641
Crawford101415
Benton99014
Martin89515
Warren82615
Switzerland7948
Union71410
Ohio57111
Unassigned0417

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1091623

Reported Deaths: 19528
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1268061406
Cuyahoga1132982134
Hamilton804211211
Montgomery518231015
Summit47606955
Lucas42618792
Butler38548585
Stark32661909
Lorain25199486
Warren24390300
Mahoning21795588
Lake20846371
Clermont19880240
Delaware18608133
Licking16488212
Fairfield16327200
Trumbull16196468
Medina15379266
Greene15143244
Clark14096299
Wood13168189
Portage12966206
Allen11740232
Richland11433199
Miami10713220
Wayne8923214
Columbiana8881229
Muskingum8831133
Pickaway8596121
Marion8561136
Tuscarawas8509245
Erie7958155
Hancock6944128
Ashtabula6904172
Ross6876156
Geauga6741148
Scioto6444102
Belmont5978168
Union575448
Lawrence5590102
Jefferson5583151
Huron5462120
Sandusky5380122
Darke5374126
Seneca5311122
Washington5228109
Athens520858
Auglaize494986
Mercer481585
Shelby470293
Knox4513110
Madison439363
Putnam4301101
Ashland426590
Fulton426469
Defiance424697
Crawford3993107
Brown397557
Logan383276
Preble381398
Clinton374163
Ottawa369081
Highland356862
Williams343475
Champaign335358
Guernsey317653
Jackson314152
Perry295950
Morrow287239
Fayette283550
Hardin271964
Henry270366
Coshocton266157
Holmes2625101
Van Wert244263
Adams240053
Pike238634
Gallia236749
Wyandot232155
Hocking216462
Carroll192448
Paulding174340
Meigs145540
Noble134137
Monroe132542
Harrison109637
Morgan108823
Vinton84915
Unassigned02
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 78°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 75°
Huntington
Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 75°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 78°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 78°
A system will bring spotty showers and thunderstorms to the region Wednesday afternoon.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events