Two, including a child, killed in Hurricane Michael; Florida witnesses 'worst' storm

Hurricane Michael's Winds Reach 150 mph, First Ever Extreme Wind Warning Issued for Region |

Powerful Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 miles per hour Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighbourhoods before continuing its destructive march inland across the Southeast.

While there is growing scientific agreement on numerous theories about the effects of climate change on storms, there are also areas where consensus has yet to develop. The storm surge is worse than 100 years ago in part of rise in sea levels.

The governor pleaded with people in Florida not to go home yet.

Smith, in Gadsden County, said the situation was unsafe even for emergency personnel. "We have done everything we can as far as getting the word out", Smith said.

Authorities are preparing to set up extra shelters and move people into more secure areas.

The Florida Department of Transportation is leading an effort with "dozens of crews" to clear roadways so first responders can access more areas that have been affected by the storm, the governor said. "Could be even years".

Many flights were canceled in the hurricane zone, and Amtrak changed some train schedules to protect passengers and employees. At the Tyndall Air Force Base, about 15 miles northwest of Mexico Beach, the monster storm pushed over trucks and peeled back the roof of a massive airplane hangar.

While most homes around him are vacation rentals or summer getaways for their owners, Sadousky had stayed put through more than four decades of storms.

A landscape that once drew vacationers to secluded beaches was littered with refrigerators, toilets and staircases no longer connected to houses.

The town looked bruised, said Kathleen Troy, 57, as she and her husband walked their dog through dark streets, but not beaten. He pulled two small boat docks from the water, packed his pickup and picked some beans from his garden before getting out - like hundreds of thousands elsewhere.

Hurricane Michael made landfall in Mexico Beach, just down the coast of Panama City, and left a wide path of destruction in its wake. It was centered about 30 miles southwest of Macon, Georgia. But forecasters said winds and outer rain bands of a storm that was strengthening and becoming better organized by the hour would begin lashing the coast well ahead of the eye making landfall. The town was under a mandatory evacuation order as the storm closed in but some people were determined to ride it out.

Two people, including a child, were killed by falling debris, the U.S. media reported on Thursday. "We want to get them out of the way". The hurricane has given national exposure to Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is trying to unseat Democratic Sen.

At the White House, President Donald Trump said, "God bless everyone because it's going to be a rough one", he said. "Do not think you can survive it", Scott said.

But some officials were anxious by what they weren't seeing - a rush of evacuees. "It had the pedal to the metal all the way until it hit the coast", he said.

"Oh my God, what are we seeing?" said evacuee Rachel Franklin, her mouth hanging open. "This might be really bad and serious".

While many cities along the Florida Panhandle enjoy the protection of various channel, barrier and tied islands, which can help stifle the impact of storm surge on the mainland, Mexico Beach sits between Crooked Island and the St. Joseph Peninsula, directly on the water. That included Pensacola Beach but not in Pensacola itself, a city of about 54,000.

"The center of Michael will continue to move over the southern Gulf of Mexico this morning, then move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico later today and tonight", the agency said. However, the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that winds picked up at certain points along the Georgia and SC coast. And isolated tornadoes were also possible.



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