Tropical Storm Michael is accelerating through the Carolinas with high wind gusts and flooding rain from the southern Appalachians to parts of the East Coast into early Friday.
Michael made landfall as a catastrophic, unprecedented Florida Panhandle Category 4 hurricane early Wednesday afternoon. For a full summary on Michael's destructive storm surge flooding, winds and heavy rain, scroll down to our recap section below.
The center of Michael is now pushing into North Carolina with its broad area of rain from the Upstate South Carolina to Virginia and West Virginia.
Winds gusted to 50-55 mph, at times, in Augusta, Georgia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Thursday morning. There have been a number of reports of trees and power lines downed in eastern Georgia and South Carolina, including in the Columbia metro area.
Michael made landfall Wednesday afternoon as a monster category 4 hurricane near Mexico Beach along the Florida Panhandle. Since then, it weakened into a tropical storm, and began a track toward the Carolinas that was a little more west then meteorologists previously forecast.
Fooding was also reported on Interstate 26 and the Interstate 126 interchange on the northwest side of Columbia early Thursday morning. Ten homes were flooded in Irmo, South Carolina, requiring some evacuations.
In North Carolina, a swift water rescue was needed due to flooding near Old Fort, and significant street flooding was reported in Hendersonville and Boone.
On Thursday, the region is now forecast to see between half an inch and three inches of rain, with those higher amounts more likely for more western parts of the area. Most of the rainfall will be scattered throughout the day.
Winds have diminished in the hardest-hit parts of the Florida Panhandle, southwest Georgia and southeast Alabama.
The center of Michael will continue to accelerate to the east-northeast through Thursday night across the Carolinas into southeast Virginia, then move off the East Coast out to sea by Friday as a post-tropical low.
WILMINGTON – A shift to west overnight will spare Southeastern N.C. from the brunt of Tropical Storm Michael’s flooding potential Thursday, but winds and tornadoes still remain a concern.
– Tropical-storm-force (39-plus mph) winds are possible through much of the Carolinas into Thursday night or Friday.- These winds are capable of downing trees and triggering additional power outages in these areas. This is a particular concern in areas where soil is still saturated from Florence's torrential rain in northeastern South Carolina and North Carolina.- Metro areas that may experience additional power outages through Thursday night include: Columbia, Charleston, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham.- Strong winds are also forecast over portions southeastern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula as Michael becomes post-tropical off the mid-Atlantic coast late Thursday night into Friday.
– Total rainfall of 4 to 7 inches is expected from the Carolinas and southern Virginia to the southern Delmarva Peninsula, with isolated totals up to 9 inches in North Carolina and Virginia. This will include some areas devastated by flooding from Hurricane Florence. That said, this system will move quickly rather than stall like Florence did and will, therefore, not bring extreme rainfall amounts. – The rest of the Northeast coast into southeast New England may see 1 to 3 inches of rain.
– As is typical with tropical cyclones, isolated tornadoes will be a threat.- Thursday and Thursday night, that tornado threat will exist from the eastern Carolinas into southeast Virginia.
“There is no doubt we are vulnerable because of what weve already gone through,” she said. “We could see some further damage, but nothing to the extent of what we saw in Florence.”
– Inundation of 2 to 4 feet above ground level is possible on the sound side of North Carolina's Outer Banks as winds from Michael pile water along those coastal areas.- Water levels are dropping along the Florida Panhandle Gulf Coast.
Hurricane Michael intensified right up to its landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, around 12:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday as a high-end Category 4 with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph and a minimum central pressure of 919 millibars.
Michael was the third most intense continental U.S. landfall by pressure and fourth strongest by maximum sustained winds on record. Michael was also the most intense Florida Panhandle landfall on record, the first Category 4 hurricane to do so in records dating to the mid-19th century.
The National Hurricane Center's Storm Surge Unit, estimated peak storm surge inundation of 9 to 14 feet above ground likely occurred from Mexico Beach through Apalachee Bay, a location notorious for storm surge even from less intense tropical cyclones.
Michael's storm surge produced a peak inundation of 7.72 feet above ground level at Apalachicola, Florida, Wednesday afternoon, smashing the previous record of 6.43 feet above ground set during Hurricane Dennis in July 2005.
Peak inundation of 5.31 feet above ground at Panama City, Florida, was second only to Hurricane Opal in 1995. Cedar Key, Florida, saw peak inundation of just over 4 feet Wednesday afternoon.
The region was placed under a tornado watch that will remain in place until 9 p.m., as storms capable of producing tornadoes moved through.
An observing site near Tyndall Air Force Base, east of Panama City, measured a wind gust to 129 mph early Wednesday afternoon, and a gust to 107 mph was reported 1 mile south of Panama City.
At one time, it was estimated over 200 roads in the city of Tallahassee were blocked by fallen trees.
A weather reporting station deployed by Weatherflow and the University of Florida measured a surface pressure from 920-929 millibars, an extraordinarily low pressure to measure on U.S. soil, before it was toppled, according to Shea Gibson, WeatherFlow, Inc. meteorologist.
As of 10 a.m., only scattered showers hovered over the region, and winds were only starting to pick up strength to a sturdy breeze.
Michael also shattered Panama City's all-time low pressure record, which had stood from Hurricane Kate in 1985.
– Florida: 129 mph at Tyndall AFB; 89 mph in Apalachicola; 71 mph in Tallahassee- Alabama: 68 mph in Dothan- Georgia: 115 mph in Donalsonville; 70 mph in Albany- South Carolina: 55 mph in Myrtle Beach; 52 mph near Charleston
The region remain under a tropical storm warning with the potential for storm surge along the beaches.
Rainfall from Michael has now topped 6 inches in a few locations, but has been held down somewhat, primarily due to Michael's more rapid forward movement compared to Florence. Here are some notable rainfall totals by state:
– Florida: 5.26 inches at Sumatra; 3.17 inches in Tallahassee; 2.61 inches in Panama City- Alabama: 5.54 inches in Ozark; 4.92 inches in Dothan; 1.60 inches in Montgomery- Georgia: 6.48 inches near Powder Springs; 3.37 inches in Macon- South Carolina: 6.01 inches near Hartsville; 4.47 inches in Columbia- North Carolina: 9.62 inches near Black Mountain; 6.75 inches near Boone; 2.95 inches in Asheville- Virginia: 5.75 inches near White Gate; 1.40 inches in Blacksburg
(CNN)What used to be a gorgeous beachfront city now looks like an apocalyptic mess after Hurricane Michael shredded Mexico Beach, Florida.
Michael first developed as Tropical Depression Fourteen on Oct. 7 east of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
CNNs Jason Hanna, Christina Maxouris, Emanuella Grinberg, AnneClaire Stapleton, Michael Guy and Amanda Watts contributed to this report.
Michael rapidly intensified from a tropical depression to Category 1 hurricane in just 24 hours ending 11 a.m. EDT Oct. 8.
Michael continued to intensify right up to landfall, exhibiting eyewall lightning as it pushed to high-end Category 4 status slamming ashore in the Florida Panhandle.
Michael arrived in southwestern Georgia early Wednesday evening as a Category 3 major hurricane, the first hurricane of that strength to track into Georgia since the Georgia Hurricane of 1898, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach, tropical scientist at Colorado State University.
PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Emergency officials rushed to evacuate at least 200 patients from a heavily damaged hospital and a vast search-and-rescue operation took shape across the Florida Panhandle on Thursday, one day after Hurricane Michaels bombardment left homes splintered to their foundations, roads and water systems compromised and hundreds of thousands of people without electricity.
The storm caused widespread damage, and the authorities said at least two people were killed. With the death toll expected to rise, one county to the next was a disaster zone of sirens, upended buildings and staggered — and newly homeless — residents.
At Bay Medical Center Sacred Heart in Panama City, windows had shattered, walls were stripped to their metal girders and new patients were showing up for treatment, only to find the entrance to the emergency room boarded-up. The other hospital in Panama City, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, said it had suspended all services and was evacuating patients.
Officials said that in total, four hospitals and 11 nursing facilities were closed in Florida. A nursing facility in Georgia was also closed.
• An 11-year-old girl, Sarah Radney, was killed on Wednesday when a carport was ripped out of the ground and sent hurtling into the modular home she was in, according to Chad Smith, the coroner of Seminole County, Ga. She was sitting right next to her grandmother, said Mr. Smith, who described the girls death as a horrible accident.
• A man died on Wednesday after a tree crashed down on his home in Greensboro, northwest of Tallahassee, the Gadsden County Sheriffs Office said.
• The storm made landfall Wednesday afternoon near Mexico Beach, Fla., just shy of Category 5 strength, and was not downgraded to a tropical storm until midnight, once it had raced through the Panhandle and southwest Georgia as a hurricane.
• Much of the coast of the Florida Panhandle, including Panama City and Mexico Beach, was left in ruins. Images from there showed swaths of shattered debris where houses once stood and structures inundated up to their rooftops; streets were blocked by downed tree limbs and impossible tangles of power lines.
• At 11 a.m. on Thursday, Michael was about 35 miles south-southeast of Charlotte, N.C., heading northeast with sustained wind speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. The storm is moving relatively quickly, at 23 m.p.h., and is expected to speed up as it crosses the Carolinas on Thursday and blows out to sea by early Friday. Click on the map below to see the storms projected path.
• As of Thursday morning, more than 800,000 customers had lost power in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, according to electrical providers in those states. In some Florida counties, such as Franklin and Leon, nearly every customer was without power.
• The big problem with this hurricane was the tremendous power, President Trump said on Thursday, adding that weve not seen destruction like that for a long time.
• Michael took the nation by surprise, intensifying rapidly from a tropical storm to a major hurricane in just two days and leaving little time for preparations. Read more about why it strengthened so quickly here.
Bay Medical Center Sacred Heart, a 300-bed hospital in the heart of Panama City, Fla., was a tumultuous mess on Thursday morning. Hurricane Michael had strafed the center, breaking windows, damaging roofs and stripping off the outsides of some buildings. Signage was strewn in the streets. Doctors, nurses and staff members wandered outside, some crying, some looking for cell service.
Bay Medical was one of two hospitals in Panama City — the other being Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center — that was damaged in the storm. Both were evacuating patients.
Bay Medical said in a statement that about 200 patients would be evacuated, including 39 intensive care patients who will be transferred first, to hospitals outside the affected area. About 1,500 people had taken shelter in the hospital, the statement said.
But residents of the ravaged city were still showing up asking for medical care. A man named Wain Hall, 23, was standing with his bicycle, screaming at a security guard by the boarded-up entrance to the emergency room.
I got a busted head, and so you refuse me medical attention here? he said, lifting his ball cap to reveal matted, blood-soaked hair. I have lost everything and everyone keeps turning us away.
The hospital was in poor condition to take in patients. Staff members said the hospital had partial electricity from its generators; there was no water and the toilets were filling up. Windows were broken. One staff member said that the fourth floor was flooded. She had tied plastic bags over her shoes and the legs of her scrubs.
Dr. Brian Roake, the head of the anesthesiology department, was among those who rode out the hurricane in the hospital. It was like hell, he said.
Inside, Dr. Roake said, the worst situation was in the intensive care unit, on the upper floors of a newer glass tower. The windows there are double paned, but the outer panes started breaking out on Wednesday afternoon.
There was a rush to move around 40 patients — post-heart surgery patients, critically ill septic patients, respiratory failure patients on ventilators — to safer quarters on lower floors in the center of the building.
Now came the job of moving the patients out. Theyre in the process of getting them transported to other hospitals — in Pensacola, wherever they can take them, he said.
Liza Marie Miller, who lives in Atlanta, said she had been trying since Wednesday to get information about her 78-year-old grandmother, who was a patient at Gulf Coast Regional. But she has been unable to reach her grandmothers room or anyone on her floor. A hospital operator told her on Thursday morning that patients were being sent to other hospitals.
Ms. Miller said her grandmother was transferred to the hospital about a week and a half ago for a serious heart condition and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She was expected to be released this week to a rehabilitation center before the hurricane hit.
I just have to wait to figure out and see where she ends up, Ms. Miller said. I just know they are transporting her somewhere.
A nursing home in Panama City also suffered damage to the roof of one of its wings, but all the residents were O.K., said Rodney C. Watford, the facilitys administrator. He said that the center, the Clifford Chester Sims State Veterans Nursing Home, was operating off a generator, which was powering air-conditioning to the building.
The photographers Gabriella Angotti-Jones, Scott McIntyre, Johnny Milano and Eric Thayer are on the ground in Florida covering the storm for The New York Times. See their images here.
Tyndall Air Force Base, which straddles a narrow spit of land jutting out into the Gulf, a dozen miles south of Panama City, sustained extensive damage, a post on the bases Facebook page said.
Winds topping 130 miles an hour knocked down trees, felled power lines, tore roofs from buildings, and ripped a static display of an F-15 fighter jet at the base entrance from its foundation, pitching it into the air and tipping it upside down.
Fortunately, there have been no injuries reported on Tyndall at this time, the Facebook post said.
The base, which sits just nine feet above sea level, is home to a series of hangars and a runway, as well as tree-lined neighborhoods for about 600 Air Force personnel. The base hosts a number of jets, including F-22 Raptor stealth fighters, which cost well over $100 million each. The base commander ordered all jets to fly to inland bases earlier in the week.
Video footage taken from a helicopter, and posted on Twitter by the commercial weather forecaster AccuWeather, showed widespread damage.
The roof of the bases largest hangar, which has been used to store jets during weaker storms, was skinned down to its steel rafters, revealing at least three small planes inside, covered in debris. Though the video did not reveal large amounts of standing water near the flight line, it showed roofs shorn off several other buildings surrounding the hangar, garage doors punched in, and cars flipped over.
It was unclear Thursday if the runway was usable. Base officials said they were assessing damage. It was not known when personnel would be able to return.
Other Air Force bases along the coast, as well as the Navy base in Panama City, have resumed limited operations.
Governor Scott said Thursday that Michael had left a wide trail of devastation, and that the authorities had turned their immediate focus to rescue efforts.
We are deploying a massive wave of response, and those efforts are already underway, Mr. Scott said. Help is coming by air, land and sea.
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said he had heard from the local authorities who described extensive damage. These are not people prone to hyperbole, Mr. Rubio said on CNN. Panama City is catastrophic damage. Someone told me, Mexico Beach is gone.
The other areas of greatest concern were the eastern parts of Panama City, Apalachicola and around Tyndall Air Force Base, said Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Mr. Long said that he was equally concerned about communities in southwest Georgia, which received Category 2 wind speeds, because of the large number of mobile homes in that part of the state. We are always worried about trees falling on manufactured homes and mobile homes, he said.
Mr. Long expected the search-and-rescue process to be challenging, given all the fallen trees, debris and downed power lines. He worried that the number of people killed in the storm would rise once crews reached places where people did not evacuate.
Florida officials also pleaded with residents to stay off the roads as crews tried to clear debris and emergency workers were scrambling to hard-hit areas. They asked people to avoid downed power lines, and not to drive through flooded areas. They urged residents and visitors to keep emergency phone lines open and, in some areas, to boil their water or use bottled water. They told them to position generators at least 15 feet from homes, and to stay indoors.
Like many people with family in the hurricane-ravaged area, Megan McCall is trying to reach a family member.
At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Ms. McCall missed a call from her brother, Jeff McCall, who was trying to ride out Hurricane Michael with his family in Alford, Fla., about 40 miles north of Panama City.
Ms. McCall, who lives in Jacksonville, tried calling back. At first the phone would ring, but now it is dead.
Before she had missed the call, a family friend who spoke to her brother said the situation was dire: a three-inch crack in the wall was letting water into the house. Mr. McCall, 43, was in the basement, with his wife, Kristi McCall, their 6-year-old daughter, her 10-year-old son and her parents.
Now, Megan McCall, 30, is trying to reach someone who might be able to check on the family at the home on the edge of Compass Lake.
All of the roads in the area where my brother was staying are impassable, Ms. McCall said. I have no idea what condition the house is in now. A neighbor sent her a picture of the home, which showed the roof still on the building.
Im just glued to my phone hoping that somebodys post leads me to something that leads me to something that leads me to somebody that has access down there, she said.
Residents still recovering from the devastating flooding caused by Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, wearily awaited the winds and driving rain of now-Tropical Storm Michael.
As the storm intersects the track that Hurricane Florence took last month, Michael is expected to drop one to four inches of rain on still-saturated ground. Several areas are under flash-flood warnings. Unlike Florence, this storms rapid motion is expected to limit the long and drenching rainfall that inundated the Carolinas coastal plain.
The people in North and South Carolina have been through it, Mr. Long, the FEMA administrator, said. This isnt going to help.
The National Weather Service in Charleston issued a coastal flood advisory for the Carolina coast and strong winds were already being felt in places like Myrtle Beach and Conway, a town hit particularly hard by flooding from Hurricane Florence. Tides along the Carolina coasts are expected to run three feet above normal in some areas.
The worst of Michaels rain is expected to fall most heavily in a swath between Interstates 85 and 95 through North and South Carolina and into Virginia.
Richard Fausset reported from Panama City; Patricia Mazzei from Tallahassee, Fla.; and Alan Blinder from Atlanta. Reporting was contributed by Chris Dixon from Conway, S.C.; Melissa Gomez, Mihir Zaveri, Niraj Chokshi and Matthew Haag from New York; and Daniel Victor from Hong Kong.