At least 120,000 people along the Florida Panhandle were ordered to clear out on Tuesday as Hurricane Michael rapidly picked up steam in the Gulf of Mexico and closed in with winds of 110 miles per hour and a potential storm surge of 12 feet.
Michael, which had caught many by surprise with its rapid intensification as it churned north over the Gulf of Mexico, was the most powerful recorded storm ever to hit the Panhandle.
Then, as the storm crosses over the Southeast U.S. on Wednesday evening and Thursday, it will weaken.
In Mexico Beach, population 1,000, the storm shattered homes, leaving floating piles of lumber.
On the Florida Panhandle, wind gusts blew off roofs and knocked down brick walls.
Florida Governor Rick Scott told ABC's Good Morning America programme yesterday that the effects of the storm would not be felt for another 12 hours and warned of the potential deadly impact of what could be a 3.7m coastal storm surge.
A monstrous storm that sprang from nowhere is now threatening the Florida Panhandle.
"We're looking at a significant storm with significant impact, possibly greater than I've seen in my 59 years of life", Johnson said of his city on the shore of Apalachicola Bay, which where about 90 percent of Florida's oysters are harvested.
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SCOTT: That means the water will come miles inshore and could easily rise over the roofs of houses.
Hundreds of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate their homes and the governor told residents who had not done so to "hunker down and be careful".
Seminole County Emergency Management Agency director Travis Brooks said it wasn't a tree but a carport that hit her home and killed her.
"We've been through this before", Sally Crown said she closed the cafe where she works because the city was shutting off the sewer system in anticipation of the storm. "There was a tree involved".
Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border * Suwanee River Florida to Chassahowitzka Florida * north of Fernandina Beach Florida to South Santee River South Carolina A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
Scott, after getting a briefing at 8 a.m.at the State Emergency Operations Center, urged people who plan to evacuate to do so Tuesday morning, as he continued to expand the activation of the Florida National Guard in advance of Michael's landfall. "We haven t seen as robust of an evacuation response from the civilian population that we have seen in other storms".
Only three major hurricanes made landfall in the Panhandle since 1950 before this: Eloise in 1975, Opal in 1995 and Dennis in 2005.
Hurricane Michael is expected to hit the Florida panhandle as a major storm on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 10) - and USA weather satellites are busy watching the storm to help meteorologists keep people safe.
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Some parts of Florida have issued mandatory evacuations for residents. For storm information specific to your area, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.
A year ago saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Hurricane Harvey - causing a record-equaling $125 billion in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area.
"If you're responsible for a patient, you're responsible for the patient". Additional strengthening is expected, and Michael is forecast to be a major hurricane at landfall in Florida.
"This situation has NEVER happened before", it said on Twitter.
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.
The hurricane made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, at around 14:00 (18:00 GMT) on Wednesday, according to the NHC.
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