Michael downgraded to tropical storm, kills 2 in Florida

Michael downgraded to tropical storm, kills 2 in Florida

Michael downgraded to tropical storm, kills 2 in Florida

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

A vehicle sits partially submerged in floodwaters after Hurricane Michael hit in Panama City, Florida, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

Hurricane Michael, which made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida as a category-4 storm on Wednesday afternoon, has ravaged the Florida Panhandle with gusting winds of up to 155mph (250kph). About 3,500 Florida National Guard troops were deployed, along with more than 1,000 search-and-rescue personnel, Governor Scott said. He said flash flooding and tornados were still possible, and said officials had heard reports of at least two tornados in Florida.

There was widespread damage in Panama City, Fla., just west of where the centre of Michael's eye hit the shore.

"We had roughly 4,000 people spend the night in a Red Cross or partner shelters - we expect that number could rise but now we're just urging people to listen to the local officials - heed those warnings because this is a very, very risky storm". It's left hundreds of thousands of people without power and an untold number of people homeless.

All non-essential travel to and from the area, also known as Florida's Panhandle, has been suspended, but the busy cruise port of Tampa 250 miles to the south was able to breathe a sigh of relief as it largely avoided the worst effects of the storm. At the time, the then-tropical-storm wasn't expected to achieve its current Category 4 status, but now that it's here, it's time to batten down the hatches.

Damage in Panama City was even worse, at one point forcing 11Alive's own crews to take shelter as every object not tied to the ground became a unsafe projectile. "I've' never seen anything like it".

"Same devastation. Same winds", she said. Pine trees were stripped and snapped off about 20 feet high.

The Houston County Emergency Management Agency in Alabama told people to stay off the roads.

People walk past damaged stores after hurricane Michael passed through the downtown area of Panama City in Florida.

Large parts of Florida have suffered "unimaginable destruction" after the third-strongest hurricane in U.S. history slammed into the sunshine state. 4 storm to hit the Florida Panhandle (in records dating back to 1851.) The storm started off as a tropical depression the weekend before, and had reached Category 2 strength just a day before it hit landfall.

At the time, its maximum sustained wind speeds were measuring around 155 miles per hour, making it the strongest hurricane on record to directly hit that part of The Sunshine State.

The storm blew down trees and utility wires throughout Florida Gulf Coast towns, while also ripping off roofs and inundating areas with several meters of storm surge.

Tropical Storm Michael took its drenching rains to Georgia and the Carolinas on Thursday after battering Florida's Panhandle as the third most powerful hurricane ever to strike the USA mainland and killing at least two people.

Risky conditions from damaging winds and flooding rain were forecast to spread through Georgia and into the Carolinas Wednesday night and Thursday (Friday NZT).

There has been only one storm with higher sustained wind speeds this far north in the Gulf of Mexico: Hurricane Camille in 1969. The Florida health department had 80 ambulance strike teams and 400 ambulances ready, and the state is giving out two million meals and one million gallons of drinking water. The local National Weather Service office in Tallahassee issued a chilling warning that Michael was "not comparable to anything we have seen before".

Power lines were knocked down and heavy rains and fierce winds blanketed the area.

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