Tropical Storm Michael leaves wide swath of destruction in its wake

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Hurricane Michael caused a transformer to explode as the storm hit the southern portion of Alabama on October 10.

Florida officials said Michael, packing winds of 155 miles per hour (250 kph), was the most powerful storm to hit the southern USA state in more than a century.

Some additional strengthening is possible before landfall, which is expected Wednesday afternoon, before weakening as it crosses across the southeastern U.S. Maximum sustained winds have increased to 145 miles per hour.

As winds subsided in Panama City, resident Reid Garrett said his concerns shifted to flooding outside his apartment complex, which surrounded by downed trees.

The Category 4 storm created storm surges up to 14 feet in areas, inflicted damages across Tyndall Air Force Base east of Panama City and spawned at least two "devastating" tornadoes in Gadsden County. Other parts of the state in the path of the storm have reported storm surges of up to 5 feet.

Panama City after Michael. It's expected to weaken to a tropical storm by Thursday morning and move off into the Atlantic Ocean by early Friday.

"It really started as a tropical storm, and then it went to Category 1, then it was Category 2 and before you know it, it was Category 4", O'Shaughnessy told Reuters.

An official with an emergency management agency said Tropical Storm Michael is responsible for a child's death in Georgia.

The Category 4 hurricane was the fiercest to hit Florida in 80 years when it came ashore on Wednesday, but its strength waned as it pushed into Georgia.

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 miles per hour furiously whipped the trees in the early afternoon and pulled apart homes.

Gen, Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said some Florida residents may have been taken by surprise by the rapid escalation of the storm. The debris was a problem in many coastal communities and still hundreds of thousands of people were also left without power.

"We haven't seen her since the tree hit the den".

A hurricane warning remains in place from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida. The Carolinas are still recovering from Hurricane Florence less than a month ago.

Scott, who expressed frustration earlier in the day about people ignoring evacuation orders, noted that the state has already spent close to $40 million on its response.

Before the storm made landfall, Scott said he activated 3,500 members of the Florida National Guard. "This happened so quickly", he said.

While we might not get more storms in a warmer climate, most studies show storms will get stronger and produce more rain. Neighborhood streets flooded as waves battered the shoreline.

In terms of damage the most costly year was 2017, when besides the Caribbean several USA coastal states were hit by powerful hurricanes that moved slowly and dumped record rainful for days.

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