Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Powerful storm clobbers the Southeast

Powerful storm clobbers the Southeast

Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Oct. 11, 2018, devastating the coastal town as it lashed the Florida Panhandle.

Sally Crown rode out Michael on the Panhandle thinking at first the worst damage was the many trees downed in her yard.

See the latest from the Capital Weather Gang here and track the storm's path here.

"It wasn't until we hit the eyewall that things kind of got a little dicey", he said. "The turbulence was astounding, but it was all worth it, because once you make it through the eyewall, you finally make it into the eye".

Horrific before and after photos have captured the utter devastation inflicted by Hurricane Michael after it crashed into several small towns on the Florida Panhandle with near-record force.

Those winds have reached 250 kilometres an hour, making Hurricane Michael one of the most powerful storms to hit the US mainland in more than a century. "They can't get out of the area they are in and others can't get in", she said.

Duke Energy reported more than 100,000 outages for customers in North and South Carolina Thursday afternoon and that number continued to grow.

Storm surge warnings were in place along the Florida and Alabama coasts.

It made landfall on the coast as a Category 1 hurricane on September 14 and drenched some parts of the state with 40 inches (101 centimetres) of rain.

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Now downgraded to a Category 3, earlier the extremely unsafe Category 4 hurricane produced winds of up to 250kmh when it made landfall around 1.30pm Wednesday (local time) in Mexico Beach, about 30 kilometres southeast of Panama City. When it comes to the wind advisory, gusts tonight as Michael makes its brush past us could be as high as 45 to 50 miles per hour at times.

It was the strongest storm to hit the continental USA since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and left extensive damage in Panama City, where skies were still overcast hours after the gusty winds left town.

Fatalities were not yet reported as the storm surge kept even rescuers from returning immediately to the Florida panhandle region that was hit.

Florida Governor Rick Scott says search and rescue teams are heading into the USA state's hardest-hit areas to help survivors of Hurricane Michael.

Around midnight (0400 GMT Thursday) it was downgraded to a tropical storm as it barrelled across central Georgia, still dumping torrential rain and packing 60 miles per hour winds.

Schools and state offices in the area are to remain shut this week.

The University of SC will be closing campus as Hurricane Michael approaches the Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane.

The National Hurricane Center downgraded Michael to a tropical storm early Thursday, saying its maximum winds had dropped below the threshold for a hurricane. It's expected to weaken to a tropical storm by Thursday morning and move off into the Atlantic Ocean by early Friday.

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