Hurricane Michael descended on the Florida Panhandle at night on October 10. As recently as Sunday morning, Michael was a badly organised system of rain clouds “meandering off the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula”, according to the National Hurricane Centre. It powered up quickly into a tropical storm by Sunday night then sprinted north across the Gulf of Mexico, leaping from a category 2 to 4 hurricane in just hours on Tuesday night, a record-setting pace.
Tropical Storm Michael continues to march through the Southeast, still packing powerful winds and flood-causing rains. Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday as a “potentially catastrophic” Category 4 hurricane — the strongest on record to hit the area — and charged north through Georgia and into the Carolinas and Virginia, wreaking havoc and causing emergencies.
Consequences of Hurricane Michael
The death toll from Hurricane Michael has jumped to at least 11, and FEMA Administrator Brock Long said he expects that number to continue to rise. As of Friday morning, more than 1,4 million utility customers from Florida to Virginia were without power.
“We’re still in life-safety mode,” Long told CBS News. “We’re not even close to having discussions on rebuilding yet.”
Mexico Beach, Florida, was one of the hardest-hit areas. Entire blocks of homes were obliterated in the small Panhandle community.
Thousands of National Guard troops and emergency workers are helping the survivors. On Friday morning, hurricane Michael’s remnants were over the Atlantic Ocean, lashing the New England coast with strong winds and heavy rain.
Entire cities along Florida’s Panhandle are unrecognizable, CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca reports from Mexico Beach. Homes and businesses were ripped from their foundations, trailers were split open and tossed aside like toys, and a coastline was carved up by relentless, surging waves.
The National Hurricane Center said early Friday Michael was getting stronger as it was transitioning into a post-tropical storm. It still had damaging winds and was generating “life-threatening flash flooding … over portions of North Carolina and the southern mid-Atlantic” states, the centre said.
As of 2 a.m. EDT, Michael’s core was some 65 miles east-northeast of Norfolk, Virginia with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. It was heading northeast at 25 mph — very fast for a storm.
According to the NHC, “On the forecast track, the centre of hurricane Michael will move away from the coast of the United States during the next few hours and then begin to race east-northeastward across the northwestern Atlantic Ocean.
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