Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
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Michael downgraded to tropical storm, kills 2 in Florida

Michael downgraded to tropical storm, kills 2 in Florida

After landfall in Florida, Michael's strong winds and heavy rains thrashed Georgia and headed toward the Carolinas, including areas that got a soaking last month from Hurricane Florence.

"We are in new territory", National Hurricane Center (NHC) Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook.

Hurricane Michael didnt give Floridians much time to brace for its devastating impact.

Images captured by Associated Press journalists show how Florida residents took shelter while waters were rising ahead of Michael's landfall.

A woman checks on her vehicle as Hurricane Michael passes through in Panama City Beach, Fla., Oct. 10, 2018.

That is rarefied air: only three storms have hit the Category 5: an unnamed storm that devastated the Florida Keys in 1935; Camille, which hit MS in 1969; and Andrew, which plowed across South Florida in 1992.

The Weather Channel warns of "catastrophic storm surge" and incredibly high speed winds associated with the storm. That's just 2 miles per hour away from officially being a Category 5 hurricane.

The aircraft also reported that the minimum pressure has fallen to 923 millibars, meaning more strengthening could occur before landfall by mid-afternoon Wednesday.

The storm could drive sea water levels as high as 4.3 metres above normal in some areas, the National Hurricane Centre said.

Michael grew to be so fierce because it drew its strength from an unusually warm Gulf of Mexico, Masters said.

Position: The hurricane was about 120 miles southwest of Panama City, Florida, as of 6 a.m. ET this morning, per CNN.

The eye of the storm, ...

There were no immediate reports of casualties but officials were fearing the worst.

Tornadoes are possible across parts of the Florida Panhandle and the northern Florida peninsula through this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Michael continues its track across southern Georgia toward the Carolinas.

The areas from Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island and between the Alabama-Florida border and the Okaloosa-Walton county line could see 2 feet to 4 feet of storm surge. Then the remains of the storm will rapidly travel across the ocean toward Ireland.

There was a storm surge warning in effect from the Okaloosa/Walton county line to the Anclote River in Florida, and a storm surge watch in effect from Ocracoke Inlet, N.C., to Duck, N.C.

- Top winds: 155 miles per hour (250 kph), strong enough to completely destroy homes and cause weekslong power outages.

Throughout the week, a cold front embedded in a low pressure "trough" moving west to east across the United States ran into Michael as it made its way north through the Gulf of Mexico.

Helen Neal, 88, and her husband, J.W. Neal, 87, preferred to take their chances in a hotel rather than in their two-story beachfront house about a mile away in Panama City.

The governors of North and SC urged residents to brace for more heavy rain and storm-force winds as Michael ploughs northward up the Atlantic seaboard. The most powerful hurricane on record to hit Florida's Panhandle left wide destruction and at least one person dead and wasn't almost finished Thursday as it crossed Georgia toward the Carolinas, still reeling from epic flooding in Hurricane Florence.

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