Hurricane Michael: More than 58000 Without Power In Alabama

Hurricane Michael: More than 58000 Without Power In Alabama
Michael claims second life, a child in mobile home, on its way to Carolinas
When Hurricane Michael made landfall as a high-end Category 4 storm on the Florida Panhandle Wednesday, buildings along the coast were smashed to pieces, storm-surge flooding lapped at the eaves of beach houses and an Air Force base sustained extensive damage. Two people have died in the storm, which continued to zip across Georgia and the Carolinas Thursday morning.

One death was reported in the Panhandle. A Greensboro man was killed when a tree crashed on his home, according to Gadsden County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Anglie Hightower. In southern Georgia, an 11-year-old girl was killed when a carport hit her home in Seminole County. The county coroner later identified her as Sarah Radney.

As of Thursday morning, more than 500,000 customers still don't have their electricity restored across Georgia, Florida and Alabama. And as the storm continues moving in a northeast direction, forecasters predict parts of Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia could experience "life-threatening flash flooding."

In Florida, from Panama City through Mexico Beach — where the storm made landfall — and into Apalachicola, houses were swamped or blown apart, roofs were ripped off, boats sank and trees toppled in the high winds. Aerial images at Mexico Beach Thursday morning showed extreme damage, with homes swept completely off their foundations and destroyed and few properties left standing along the coast.

Death Toll Rises As Michael Moves Along US Coast

"Mexico Beach took the brunt," FEMA Administrator Brock Long said. "Thats probably ground zero."

There have been at least two reported deaths in the U.S. since Michael made landfall along the Florida Panhandle Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 hurricane. 

As of 8:30 a.m. EDT Thursday, the total number of customers without power in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas topped 900,000, according to PowerOutage.us.

Verizon offers free calling, text and data for Alabama and Florida customers impacted by Hurricane Michael

Search and rescue missions underway: Long told reporters Thursday morning that the goal is to send crews into the hardest-hit areas to perform search and rescue missions. "The power's not going to be on for a while," he said.

Stretch of Interstate 10 closed: An 80-mile stretch of I-10 was closed Thursday morning as the Florida Highway Patrol worked to clear debris from the roadway. The closure impacted a stretch of the freeway from west of Tallahassee to Lake Seminole, the report added.

Michael, which decreased to a tropical storm overnight, is continuing to weaken as it moves along the southeast U.S. coast.

Major damage reported at Tyndall Air Force Base: The base, which sits across the bay from Panama City, posted on its Facebook page that the base sustained extensive damage. A wind gust of 129 mph was measured at the base. No injuries were reported. Base personnel had been ordered to evacuate on Monday. The Facebook post said evacuees should plan on being away for an extended time.

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Devastation in Mexico Beach: Images from Mexico Beach showed widespread devastation with homes reduced to kindling and roofs lying in the middle of U.S. 98. Storm surge lapped at roof eaves. Patricia Mulligan was in a condo on Mexico Beach when Michael slammed into the town. You cant drive a car anywhere, you cant do anything because its littered with houses, pieces of houses, Mulligan told the New York Times. She said her brother's condo was destroyed as were other units nearby. Theyre not there. Its gone, she said.

Alpharetta, GA – For our customers in the Florida Panhandle including coastal Alabama that will feel the effects of Hurricane Michael, Verizon Wireless is saying Weve Got Your Back. From October 10 through October 14, Verizon is providing free calling, texting and data to its postpaid and prepaid customers who reside in the areas of the Florida Panhandle including coastal Alabama that are in the direct path of the storm. We will closely monitor the storms path and impact and will make additions and adjustments as needed, and will communicate those details as those decisions are made.

Storm tracker shocked by damage: "It's hard to convey in words the scale of the catastrophe in Panama City. The whole city looks like a nuke was dropped on it. I'm literally shocked at the scale of the destruction," tweeted chaser Josh Morgerman.

“This is one way we can help residents preparing for Hurricane Michaels landfall,” said Russ Preite, president, Southeast Market for Verizon Wireless. We urge all those in the storms path to get prepared and stay safe.

Panama City residents feel wrath of Michael: Vance Beu, 29, was staying with his mother at her Panama City apartment when a pine tree slashed through the roof. Beu said the roar of the storm sounded like a jet engine as the winds accelerated. "It was terrifying, honestly. There was a lot of noise. We thought the windows were going to break at any time. We had the inside windows kind of barricaded in with mattresses," Beu said.

Verizon values the safety and security of all residents in the impacted communities, including the companys employees. Before visiting, please contact your local store as store hours may vary depending on local impact.

News outlets work through power loss: In Panama City Beach, WJHG-TV employees were told they could evacuate the station if they felt unsafe, but a few remained inside the building, according to reporter Danielle Ellis. The station lost power a few hours later. The Panama City News Herald lost power and stayed in operation using a backup generator, but did not have internet access at the office.

Port St. Joe Mayor rides out the storm: Mayor Bo Patterson remained in his home seven blocks from the beach during the storm. "It feels like you don't know when the next tree is going to fall on top of you because it's blowing so ferociously," he told Reuters by telephone. "It's very, very scary. We have trees being uprooted, heavy, heavy rain."

Additionally, as part of Verizons ongoing commitment to those on the front lines of public safety, speed caps restrictions have been lifted for first responders in Alabama and Florida.

Apalachicola suffers heavy damage: Sally Crown, who rode out the storm in her house, ventured out after the storm had passed. "It's absolutely horrendous. Catastrophic," she said. "There's flooding. Boats on the highway. A house on the highway. Houses that have been there forever are just shattered."

Trees downed across capital city: In Tallahassee, the power loss from Michael surpassed the loss from Hermine over two years ago, according to Mayor Andrew Gillum. He said about 110,000 homes and businesses were without power in the city Thursday morning and that one of the city's sewer systems failed. He urged patience and optimism from residents as the city works through its recovery. "I'm counting our many, many blessings. This storm for us certainly was not as bad for us as it could have been."

Federal disaster approved: President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration for the state in the wake of the storm, making federal aid available for state and local response efforts.

Second Michael-related fatality reported, child killed in Georgia

Thousands lose power: After its assault on Florida, Michael's wind and rain pelted southern and central Georgia, knocking out power and downing trees in the southwestern corner of the state. Early Thursday morning, about 350,000 homes and business were without power.

The category four storm – which was 350 miles across – barreled into the Florida Panhandle with winds of 155mph, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. It was the most powerful storm to ever hit the region.

Numerous tornadoes reported: Crawford County officials say a possible tornado damaged five homes near Roberta, but no injuries were reported. Tornadoes might have also been spawned near Roberta, Perry and Fort Valley in central Georgia. Farther north, a reported tornado touched down Wednesday evening in the Atlanta area. No reports of injuries or damage were immediately available.

You should monitor local and international weather updates from the US National Hurricane Center and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation or “shelter in place” orders.

Agriculture decimated: With the harvest underway, many farms in South Georgia had their crops ravaged by the storm. "Our worst dreams are being realized," Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black told reporters Thursday morning.

Video: LIVE: Tropical Storm Michael coverage: Storm moves into NC

Injuries reported in Dothan: At least three people were injured in Dothan when a tree fell on a home Wednesday afternoon, WSFA.com reported. One of the victims was in critical condition, the report added.

And airlines British Airways, Delta and Thomas Cook confirmed to MailOnline Travel that flights and holidays to Florida from the UK had not been impacted by the weather so far.

Video: LIVE: Tropical Storm Michael coverage: Storm moves into NC

Widespread power outages: More than 60,000 homes and businesses in southern Alabama were without power early Thursday.

But in Orlando, almost 300 miles away, the international airport was operating as normal as were the citys famous theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.

Video: LIVE: Tropical Storm Michael coverage: Storm moves into NC

Another storm brings flooding: Just weeks after being slammed by Hurricane Florence, the Carolinas are yet again seeing impacts from a tropical system. On Thursday morning, flooding was reported in parts of western North Carolina after hours of heavy rain overwhelmed rivers and streams. Several roads in Boone, North Carolina, were impacted the floodwaters Thursday morning, the city's police department tweeted.

However, for those heading to areas close to where the hurricane hit or where it could head next are being warned to take extra care and check their travel plans.

Video: LIVE: Tropical Storm Michael coverage: Storm moves into NC

Students sent home early: South of Asheville, schools in Henderson and Polk counties were closed Thursday because of the storm. Watauga County also sent students home shortly after they arrived Thursday morning.

Video: Total Devastation in Mexico Beach, Florida from Hurricane Michael

Don't drive around barricades: Dozens of roads and bridges damaged by Florence are still being repaired, and transportation officials urged travelers to refrain from driving around barricades, according to the State.

Despite Hurricane Michael battering Florida, it appears to be business as usual for British travellers heading to and from tourist hot spots in the state.

State Fair delayed: In Raleigh, organizers for the North Carolina State Fair told WRAL.com that the opening was delayed from Thursday to Friday because of the storm's impacts.

The UK Foreign Office warned that life-threatening storm surges, flooding and very dangerous winds were expected in parts of Georgia and Alabama.

Hector Benthall, right, gets a hug from his neighbor Keito Jordan after remnants of Hurricane Michael sent a tree crashing into Benthalls home on October 11, 2018 in Columbia, South Carolina. Jordan was the first responder to the accident that sent at least one person to the hospital.

People survey the damage to a building in Panama City, Florida. There have been disruptions at airports closer to where the hurricane hit 

Hector Benthall, right, gets a hug from his neighbor Keito Jordan after remnants of Hurricane Michael sent a tree crashing into Benthalls home on October 11, 2018 in Columbia, South Carolina. Jordan was the

It advised: A state of emergency has been declared in Florida, Alabama, southern and central Georgia, and across South Carolina.

A fallen tree rests on a house after remnants of Hurricane Michael passed through on October 11, 2018 in Columbia, South Carolina. The accident sent at least one person to the hospital.

A house is reduced to rubble after being obliterated by Hurricane Michael in Panama City on the Florida Panhandle 

A fallen tree rests on a house after remnants of Hurricane Michael passed through on October 11, 2018 in Columbia, South Carolina. The accident sent at least one person to the hospital.

In this image released by the US Coast Guard (USCG), Coast Guard crew members aboard an HC-130 Hercules airplane fly over damaged homes near Apalachicola, Florida, on October 11, 2018, in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. – Residents of the Florida Panhandle woke to scenes of devastation Thursday after Michael tore a path through the coastal region as a powerful hurricane that killed at least two people.

In this image released by the US Coast Guard (USCG), Coast Guard crew members aboard an HC-130 Hercules airplane fly over damaged homes near Apalachicola, Florida, on October 11, 2018, in the aftermath of

The overhang of a gas station is toppled over in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael on October 11, 2018 in Inlet Beach, Florida. – Residents of the Florida Panhandle woke to scenes of devastation Thursday after Michael tore a path through the coastal region as a powerful hurricane that killed at least two people.

On the state side, the impacts to Bay and Franklin counties alone should be more than enough to meet the $27 million threshold for public assistance, Scott wrote. And, the needs of the survivors in those counties should paint a sufficient picture for an individual assistance declaration.

The overhang of a gas station is toppled over in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael on October 11, 2018 in Inlet Beach, Florida. – Residents of the Florida Panhandle woke to scenes of devastation Thursday

Addressing the media at the state Emergency Operations Center Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Rick Scott said a massive wave of response was already underway from the state, utilities and the U.S. Coast Guard, for the storm that came really fast.

Kathy Coy stands among what is left of her home after Hurricane Michael destroyed it on October 11, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. She said she was in the home when it was blown apart and is thankful to be alive. The hurricane hit the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm.

The governor didnt wait for damage assessments before seeking federal assistance from President Donald Trump for 14 counties: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor and Wakulla.

Kathy Coy stands among what is left of her home after Hurricane Michael destroyed it on October 11, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. She said she was in the home when it was blown apart and is thankful to be

Jason Phipps looks through his families roofless apartment after category 4 Hurricane Michael made land fall along the Florida panhandle, on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 in Panama City, FL.

Jason Phipps looks through his families roofless apartment after category 4 Hurricane Michael made land fall along the Florida panhandle, on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 in Panama City, FL.

Through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, Florida has also requested rescue teams and equipment from states including Kansas, Wisconsin, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia, Louisiana, Ohio, Oregon, New York, Tennessee and Maryland.

Their stores grand opening was this week. Hurricane Michael left it in ruins

A view of a hotel room with a collapsed wall in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael on October 11, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. – Residents of the Florida Panhandle woke to scenes of devastation Thursday after Michael tore a path through the coastal region as a powerful hurricane that killed at least two people.

Utility crews from Gulf Power, Duke Energy Florida, Florida Power & Light and public utilities have lined up more than 19,000 workers from their own crews and through mutual-aid agreements with companies across the South and Midwest.

Stay off the roads until Michaels winds and rain pass, Gov. Roy Cooper says

A view of a hotel room with a collapsed wall in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael on October 11, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. – Residents of the Florida Panhandle woke to scenes of devastation Thursday after

A warehouse of boats is seen damaged at Treasure Island Marina after category 4 Hurricane Michael made land fall along the Florida panhandle, on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 in Panama City Beach, FL.

Scott earlier had expressed frustration about people resisting evacuation orders, but there were no immediate reports of fatalities amid reports of significant damages throughout the region.

A warehouse of boats is seen damaged at Treasure Island Marina after category 4 Hurricane Michael made land fall along the Florida panhandle, on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 in Panama City Beach, FL.

Human needs, theres going to be a lot, Maul said. Look at what is on the list: medical, water, food, shelter, emergency fuel. The time for opening shelters is over.

A car is seen caught in flood water after category 4 Hurricane Michael made land fall along the Florida panhandle, on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 in Panama City, FL.

Gulf Power spokesman Jeff Rogers warned that customers could be without power for weeks as crews are expected both to be restoring power and rebuilding parts of the system.

Video: Hurricane Michael: Heavy Rain And Winds Devastate Florida | TODAY

A car is seen caught in flood water after category 4 Hurricane Michael made land fall along the Florida panhandle, on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 in Panama City, FL.

Pensacola-based Gulf Power estimated that up to 225,000 of its customers could be impacted by the storm that pounded the Panhandle throughout the afternoon and into the evening.

Video: Hurricane Michael survivor describes storms strength

Television reporters stand watching as category 4 Hurricane Michael makes land fall along the Florida panhandle, on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 in Panama City Beach, FL.

Where is I-10 Closed in Florida Panhandle? Hurricane Michael Closes East, West Interstate 10 Traffic, Detour Required

Television reporters stand watching as category 4 Hurricane Michael makes land fall along the Florida panhandle, on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 in Panama City Beach, FL.

Supercharged Hurricane Threatens Florida With 150 mph Winds

Amanda Logsdon begins the process of trying to clean up her home after the roof was blown off by the passing winds of hurricane Michael on October 11, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. The hurricane hit the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm.

As of 4 a.m. Wednesday, nearly 8,000 people were being housed in 54 shelters across the Panhandle and Big Bend, according to the state Division of Emergency Management.

Amanda Logsdon begins the process of trying to clean up her home after the roof was blown off by the passing winds of hurricane Michael on October 11, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. The hurricane hit the Florida

Cameron Sadowski walks along where waves are crashing onto the beach as the outer bands of hurricane Michael arrive on October 10, 2018 in Panama City Beach, Florida. The hurricane is forecast to hit the Florida Panhandle at a possible category 4 storm.

Cameron Sadowski walks along where waves are crashing onto the beach as the outer bands of hurricane Michael arrive on October 10, 2018 in Panama City Beach, Florida. The hurricane is forecast to hit the

Kathy Eaton takes what she can from her home as she tries to get out of the way of the storm as the outerbands of hurricane Michael arrive on October 10, 2018 in Panama City Beach, Florida. The hurricane is forecast to hit the Florida Panhandle at a possible category 4 storm.

Kathy Eaton takes what she can from her home as she tries to get out of the way of the storm as the outerbands of hurricane Michael arrive on October 10, 2018 in Panama City Beach, Florida. The hurricane is

Wasnt a Wise Choice to Stay During Hurricane Michael, Panama City Residents Say After Storm Made Landfall

Waves crash along a pier as the outerbands of hurricane Michael arrive on October 10, 2018 in Panama City Beach, Florida. The hurricane is forecast to hit the Florida Panhandle at a possible category 4 storm.

Waves crash along a pier as the outerbands of hurricane Michael arrive on October 10, 2018 in Panama City Beach, Florida. The hurricane is forecast to hit the Florida Panhandle at a possible category 4 storm.

After a night of destruction, Hurricane Michael finally weakens to a tropical storm

An aerial picture of people filling bags with sand at the Lynn Haven Sports Complex while preparing for Hurricane Michael October 9, 2018 in Panama City, Florida.

An aerial picture of people filling bags with sand at the Lynn Haven Sports Complex while preparing for Hurricane Michael October 9, 2018 in Panama City, Florida.

A car is seen in a parking lot while flooding begins as Hurricane Michael approaches on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. – Hurricane Michael closed in on Floridas Gulf Coast on Wednesday as an “extremely dangerous” category four storm packing powerful winds and a huge sea surge, US forecasters said. The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said the storm, which local forecasters are calling an “unprecedented” weather event for the area, is expected to slam ashore later in the day with “life-threatening” storm surges.

Hurricane Michael slams Florida Panhandle

A car is seen in a parking lot while flooding begins as Hurricane Michael approaches on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. – Hurricane Michael closed in on Floridas Gulf Coast on Wednesday as an

Michael leaves Atlanta with downed trees, power outages, road closures

Pets are checked in, as people seek safety in a shelter as Hurricane Michael approaches on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. – Hurricane Michael closed in on Floridas Gulf Coast on Wednesday as an “extremely dangerous” category four storm packing powerful winds and a huge sea surge, US forecasters said. The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said the storm, which local forecasters are calling an “unprecedented” weather event for the area, is expected to slam ashore later in the day with “life-threatening” storm surges.

Pets are checked in, as people seek safety in a shelter as Hurricane Michael approaches on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. – Hurricane Michael closed in on Floridas Gulf Coast on Wednesday as an

Patrons are asked to get off the beach by Beach Patrol as category 3 Hurricane Michael approaches the Florida panhandle, in Panama City Beach on Tuesday, Oct. 09, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Patrons are asked to get off the beach by Beach Patrol as category 3 Hurricane Michael approaches the Florida panhandle, in Panama City Beach on Tuesday, Oct. 09, 2018 in Washington, DC.

A bingo parlor is seen at dawn as Hurricane Michael approaches on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. – Hurricane Michael closed in on Floridas Gulf Coast on Wednesday as an “extremely dangerous” category four storm packing powerful winds and a huge sea surge, US forecasters said. The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said the storm, which local forecasters are calling an “unprecedented” weather event for the area, is expected to slam ashore later in the day with “life-threatening” storm surges. (

A bingo parlor is seen at dawn as Hurricane Michael approaches on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. – Hurricane Michael closed in on Floridas Gulf Coast on Wednesday as an “extremely dangerous”

5 things to know for October 11: Tropical Storm Michael, financial markets, missing Saudi journalist, China, US Postal Service

Patrons enjoy beverages outside Busters Beer & Bait, one of the last bars in the area still open, as category 3 Hurricane Michael approaches the Florida panhandle, in Panama City Beach on Tuesday, Oct. 09, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Patrons enjoy beverages outside Busters Beer & Bait, one of the last bars in the area still open, as category 3 Hurricane Michael approaches the Florida panhandle, in Panama City Beach on Tuesday, Oct. 09,

Hurricane Michael Aftermath: Damage to Panama City, Power Outages, Fatalities Reported

Talquin Electric linemen shut off the power to Shell Point Beach prior to the arrival of Hurricane Michael on October 9, 2018 in Crawfordville, Florida.

Talquin Electric linemen shut off the power to Shell Point Beach prior to the arrival of Hurricane Michael on October 9, 2018 in Crawfordville, Florida.

Bar owner Dorothy White puts away outdoor furniture at Ouzts Too bar prior to the arrival of Hurricane Michael on October 9, 2018 in Newport, Florida.

Bar owner Dorothy White puts away outdoor furniture at Ouzts Too bar prior to the arrival of Hurricane Michael on October 9, 2018 in Newport, Florida.

People visit the beach while waiting for Hurricane Michael October 9, 2018 in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Unscathed by Hurricane Michael, Lake City friends test their luck

People visit the beach while waiting for Hurricane Michael October 9, 2018 in Panama City Beach, Florida.

The St. Marks River overflows into the city of St. Marks, Fla., ahead of Hurricane Michael, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. The National Hurricane Center says says Michael will be the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall on the Florida Panhandle.

The St. Marks River overflows into the city of St. Marks, Fla., ahead of Hurricane Michael, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. The National Hurricane Center says says Michael will be the first Category 4 hurricane to

People fill bags with sand at the Lynn Haven Sports Complex while preparing for Hurricane Michael October 9, 2018 in Panama City, Florida.

People fill bags with sand at the Lynn Haven Sports Complex while preparing for Hurricane Michael October 9, 2018 in Panama City, Florida.

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The remnants of Hurricane Michael continued to batter the Southeast, pummeling states with powerful rain, wind and flooding even after being downgraded to a tropical storm.

Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday as a “potentially catastrophic” Category 4 storm – the strongest hurricane on record to hit the area – and continued to charge north, wreaking havoc and prompting emergencies. Darkness concealed the full extent of the damage left behind, but a second death was reported early Thursday, apparently caused by debris crashing through a mobile home and killing a child inside.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long said early Thursday that “search and rescue is where we are hyper-focused this morning” – particularly in Mexico Beach, Florida, which “was wiped out” by Hurricane Michaels storm surge, he said.

“We have a lot of work to do … theres a lot of debris that weve got to get through,” Long said on CNN. “Were trying to get into areas like Mexico Beach, get the teams in to be able to assess damage.”

Long was asked about Michaels confirmed death toll, which stands at two. “Those numbers could climb,” he said. “Hopefully they dont, but those numbers could climb as search-and-rescue teams get out.”

The sun will rise across the Florida Panhandle sometime around 7 on Thursday, and Hurricane Michaels trail of destruction will begin to come into clearer focus. But the early indicators are troubling.

Consider what storm chaser Josh Morgerman tweeted Wednesday night: “Its hard to convey in words the scale of the catastrophe in Panama City. The whole city looks like a nuke was dropped on it. Im literally shocked at the scale of the destruction.”

Hurricane Michael slams Florida, man killed in home by falling tree

Morgerman has chased some of the most extreme hurricanes and typhoons across the world. As the Washington Posts Capital Weather Gang noted, “he is not prone to hyperbole.”

Early Thursday, he said that Michael was “definitely one of the most violent [hurricanes] Ive been in.”

Another storm chaser, Mark Sudduth, tweeted: “Drove from Panama City almost to Mexico Beach and I can tell you this is the worst damage from wind that I have ever seen! Absolutely catastrophic! You will not believe your eyes when you see it.”

Sudduth added: “Walking thru Mexico Beach to receive my GoPro cam and Im telling you, its DEVASTATED. Truly devastated. Some buildings completely swept clean – only slabs.”

Michael weakened as it crossed rain-soaked Georgia and moved northeast toward South Carolina, the National Hurricane Center said. By 2 a.m., sustained winds had decreased to 60 mph; at 5 a.m., they had fallen to 50 mph.

However, the center said, winds have picked up at certain points along the Georgia and South Carolina coast. Large parts of Georgia, the Carolinas and southeastern Virginia could still see deadly flash floods today and remain under a tropical storm warning.

Red Tide Could Sicken Floridians as Hurricane Michael Feeds Dangerous Algae Bloom

The storms center is currently about 30 miles west of Augusta, Georgia, near the South Carolina border. Forecasters expect that Michael will continue to weaken Thursday as the storm travels over land, likely reaching central South Carolina Thursday morning. Once Michael reaches the Atlantic, the storm is expected to intensify again as it becomes a post-tropical low.

Hurricane Michael makes landfall with 155 mph winds in Florida Panhandle

On Wednesday night, Apple CEO Tim Cook pledged that the company would help with recovery and relief efforts. “I grew up on the shores of the Gulf Coast, near Pensacola and Mobile, and that region holds a special place in my heart,” he wrote on Twitter. “Thats never been more true than now.”

Cook grew up in Robertsdale, Alabama, a city of roughly 5,200 people located roughly halfway between Mobile and Pensacola, Florida. His father worked at Mobiles shipyards, and his mother worked at a drugstore.

Powerful Hurricane Michael makes landfall

Though Cook has called himself a “a proud son of the South,” his relationship with the socially conservative community where he grew up is complicated. When Cook came out as gay in 2014, Robertsdale Mayor Charles Murphy suggested that he should have kept his sexual orientation private. “Tim has done a good job with Apple. Were very proud of the accomplishments that hes made,” he told Reuters. “Sometimes peoples personal lives need to stay personal.”

Visiting Robertsdale in 2016, The Washington Posts Todd Frankel noted that Cooks name wasnt on the towns welcome signs, the chamber of commerce brochures, or at his old high school. One former classmate speculated that the lack of recognition might be connected to Cooks advocacy for gay rights.

Hurricane Michael Is the Strongest Storm to Hit Florida Since 1851. Heres Why, According to Scientists

High winds led to the death of an 11-year-old girl in Seminole County, Georgia, EMA Director Travis Brooks told The Washington Post early Thursday morning. The girl had been inside a trailer home in an unincorporated area of the county near Lake Seminole, close to the Florida-Georgia border. From what officials could determine, Brooks said, it looked like a metal carport used to store boats had been lifted in the air by the gusting winds and had flipped over. When it landed, its legs crashed through the roof of a neighboring mobile home and hit the girl in the head.

“It looked like a war zone,” Brooks said, adding that it had taken deputies from the Seminole County Sheriffs Office practically all day to get to the mobile home due to the road conditions in the area.

Meanwhile, the Waffle House near Florida State Universitys campus in Tallahassee was open for business at 12:28 a.m., with lines stretching out the door. FEMA officials famously use the Waffle House Index as a way of measuring storm damage: Since the diner chain is ubiquitous in the southeast, and rarely shuts down in extreme weather, seeing the Waffle House closed down before a storm is a sign that things are about to get extremely bad. If the Waffle House hasnt reopened after the storm, FEMA considers that a sign that the area has experienced major devastation.

On Wednesday morning, a Waffle House spokesman had announced that 30 restaurants in Florida and Georgia were closed in preparation for Hurricane Michael, including locations along the Florida Panhandle from Panama City to Destin. It was a clear warning that the storm should be taken seriously.

Images of the destruction in coastal Florida towns circulated widely Wednesday night, shocking even seasoned storm chasers and weather watchers. Franklin County Sheriff A.J Smith told CNN that the county was nearly isolated after most of the main roads were rendered impassable from flooding and downed trees.

“Its bad,” he said. “Weve been through hurricanes but never where we were completely cut off like this.”

Michael to Drench Carolinas After Ravaging Florida Panhandle

Linda Albrecht, a councilwoman in Mexico Beach, spoke to the network about leaving her home with only a few essential objects.

“It feels like a nightmare,” she said. “Looking at the pictures, Im thinking there is not a house left in that town.”

The storm knocked the broadcast of Panama City-based WMBB off the air after the television station lost power, one of more than 263,000 customers experiencing blackouts in Florida. But that didnt stop the journalists from getting the report out.

Hurricane damage closes Gulf State Park Pier

Reporter Peyton LoCicero went on Periscope, an app that allows people to live stream to a public audience from a cellphone, to give updates about the storm. She spoke from the parking lot of a wrecked gas station in Walton County, tilting the camera to show the damage around her. The stations awning had crashed to the ground.

“I wanted to let you guys know exactly what is going on,” she said, speaking about a curfew that had been instituted in nearby Bay County because of concerns about looting from the outages.

Hurricane Michael damage: Shocking video shows roof collapse during LIVE TV broadcast

More than 17,000 people tuned into the broadcast, including Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who shared LoCiceros impromptu report on Twitter.

The Times eyewitness account to damage inflicted by Hurricane Michael after landfall

The first confirmed fatality of the storm was recorded Wednesday. The Gadsden County Sheriffs office said that a man was found dead in his home in a small town outside of Tallahassee after a tree crashed through the roof. Sgt. Angela Hightower did not identify the man but said he had been found at the home in Greensboro around 6 p.m.

Video: In Panama City, residents begin to assess the damage left in the wake of Hurricane Michael. For those who evacuated, it means wondering if their homes remain standing.(Alice Li,Jon Gerberg,Jorge Ribas/The Washington Post)


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