Was Tallahassee lucky in its meeting with Hurricane Michael? A resounding yes

Was Tallahassee lucky in its meeting with Hurricane Michael? \A resounding yes\
Bride-to-be fears home, wedding dress lost in Hurricane Michael
Tropical Storm Michael is accelerating through Virginia with gusty winds and flooding rain. Extreme rainfall totals may occur in either of those states through early Friday as Michael swings out into the Atlantic. 

Michael made landfall as a catastrophic, unprecedented Florida Panhandle Category 4 hurricane early during the afternoon of Oct. 10. 

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.

Video: Storm Michael: 155mph winds leave trail of devastation – BBC News

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. 

Unlike Florence, which drenched the region while moving as slow as 2 mph, the remnants of Michael moved around or slightly above 20 mph throughout Thursday. The storm’s speed meant limited impact from rain in the Wilmington region.

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. 

The region’s heaviest rains from Michael were recorded around Belville, with 2.64 inches, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), but the 0.57 inches in southwest Leland and 0.35 inches in Wilmington were more typical.

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.

In anticipation of Michael, Brunswick and New Hanover counties canceled school Thursday, with Brunswick remaining off on Friday. Pender County Schools, which sustained major damage during Florence, remained closed.

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.

Video: Coast Guard assesses Hurricane Michael damage

Michael also shattered Panama City's all-time low pressure record, which had stood from Hurricane Kate in 1985. 

WILMINGTON — Tropical Storm Michael blew in Thursday to a Cape Fear region still recovering from Hurricane Florence and blew out without inflicting much more damage.

Michael kills six and wipes out Florida beach town

– 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 majority of what we are going to get is probably right now,” he said. “That’s good because we don’t need another one.”

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’s strongest winds in the region included 58 mph in Kure Beach and 54 mph in Oak Island, according to the NWS. Wilmington saw maximum gusts of 53 mph.

After Michaels rampage on Florida Panhandle: Nothing Left

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

“Speed makes quite a lot of difference in terms of rainfall,” said Victoria Oliva, a meteorologist at the NWS’ Wilmington office.

Flooding 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.

The storm weakened to a tropical storm as it tracked north, with its center passing over Central and Northeastern North Carolina.

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.

 “I think we were spared,” Wrightsville Beach Mayor Bill Blair said. “Nobody is in a panic out here.”

Michael first developed as Tropical Depression Fourteen on Oct. 7 east of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

How to Help Victims of Hurricane MichaelOct. 11, 2018ImageMore in U.S.Eric Thayer for The New York TimesHurricane Michaels Deadly Strike Leaves Florida Panhandle ReelingEric Thayer for The New York TimesHurricane Michael: The Damage in PicturesEric Thayer for The New York TimesHospitals Pummeled by Hurricane Michael Scramble to Evacuate PatientsJohnny Milano for The New York TimesI Got Stuck: In Poor, Rural Communities, Fleeing Hurricane Michael Was ToughChris OMeara/Associated Pressvideo

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.

The roads became passable into town on Thursday, and it became evident that few communities had suffered more. Known for its sport fishing, the city of about 2,000 permanent residents swells to as many as 14,000 in July, and is known for having a relaxed, small-town feel compared with the brash tourist strips of Panama City Beach or tony nearby beach developments like Alys Beach or Seaside.

Video: Help From South Florida Is On The Way

Goc. Rick Scott sees Hurricane Michaels wrath from above

The extent of Hurricane Michael's widespread devastation in Florida became clearer Thursday as the storm continued to wreak havoc across the Southeast, knocking down trees and power poles, stranding motorists, and spawning tornadoes and flash flood emergencies. Six people have died.

MEXICO BEACH, Fla. — Search-and-rescue teams rushed on Thursday to reach communities that Hurricane Michael leveled, hoping to find survivors of the powerful storm after its rampage through the Florida Panhandle and beyond left buildings collapsed and splintered, hospitals damaged, roads and water systems compromised and more than a million homes and businesses without electricity.

Mexico Beach woman documents Michaels devastation on Instagram

Michael made landfall as a high-end Category 4 storm on the Florida Panhandle Wednesday smashing towns to rubble. On Thursday, the Carolinas and Georgia saw trees knocked down, hundreds of thousands without power, and roads closed by standing water. Evacuations were needed in Irmo, South Carolina, after multiple homes took on water. Tropical Storm Michael's downpours in Virginia also flooded homes and led to water rescues and at least four flash flood emergencies later in the day. One tornado was confirmed. 

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.

Four people were killed in Florida's Gadsden County, according to Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Anglie Hightower. One of them was Steve Sweet, 44, who died when a tree slammed into his Gretna home. Details were not available on the other three deaths. 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. A North Carolina man was killed Thursday after a tree fell on his car in Iredell County, north of Charlotte, the Associated Press reported.

• At 8 p.m. on Thursday, Michael was about 5 miles northwest of Roanake Rapids, N.C., heading northeast with sustained winds of up to 50 miles an hour. Now a tropical storm, it is moving relatively quickly, at 24 m.p.h., and is expected to speed up as it crosses Virginia and blows out to sea overnight. Click on the map below to see the storms projected path.

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.

Richard Fausset reported from Mexico Beach; Patricia Mazzei from Panacea, Fla.; and Alan Blinder from Atlanta. Reporting was contributed by Chris Dixon from Lumberton, N.C.; Campbell Robertson from Pittsburgh; Sabrina Tavernise from Washington; Sheri Fink, Melissa Gomez, Mihir Zaveri, Niraj Chokshi and Matthew Haag from New York; and Daniel Victor from Hong Kong.

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

As of 7:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, the total number of customers without power in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia was more than  1.4 million, according to PowerOutage.us.

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.

Psychiatric hospital cut off: In the town of Chattahoochee, the Florida State Hospital, which is the state's largest and oldest psychiatric hospital, was inaccessible in the wake of Michael, according to the Miami Herald. The facility's 975 residents and 325 staffers had ample supplies, especially after food and water drops via helicopter, but the hospital lost all communication with the outside world, the report added.

Hurricane Michaels Remarkable, Terrifying Run

Two Panama City hospitals evacuate: Bay Medical Sacred Heart began evacuating patients about 3 a.m. Thursday after the hospital was damaged by the hurricane on Wednesday. Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center also was damaged and began moving patients on Thursday. Both hospitals said their emergency rooms would remain open.

• An 11-year-old girl, Sarah Radney, was killed on Wednesday when a carport was torn away and was sent hurtling into the modular home she was in, said 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.

Hurricane Michael leaves unimaginable destruction

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.

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.

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

It was insane, Mr. Carranza said Thursday from the town where the storm had crossed onto land a day earlier. It was a city in ruin. All around him, in places where there were once houses, now there were mere piles of lumber, junked home furnishings, mangled roofing, fishing rods, ceiling fans, sheets, clothing, bottles.

Changed Forever: Florida Panhandle devastated by Michael

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

Michael is taking a very different track through the Carolinas; it is headed up through the west-central parts of the states, drenching mid-state cities and mountain towns — there was a minor landslide in far western North Carolina — while to a large degree sparing the eastern stretches that were inundated a month ago.

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. Mayor Al Cathey, 71, told the Tampa Bay Times, "Were broken here. This devastation is beyond. I think its sort of obvious we need some help."

Officials in places like Wilmington, N.C., reduced to a powerless island for days after Florence, are using terms like inconvenience to describe the potential effects of Michael. Officials in Appalachian counties are bracing for problems they had expected but largely dodged during Florence.

Dozens Didn't Flee: State officials said as many as 285 Mexico Beach residents chose not to obey evacuation orders ahead of the storm. The National Guard was able to rescue about 20 people overnight, but it was unknown how many residents were missing, or if there were any deaths.

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.

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.

Hurricane Michael: Its GONE Shock footage shows town LEVELLED by brute force of storm

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.

Reports of looting: Storm chasers posted video of people grabbing items from inside a heavily damaged Family Dollar store in Panama City on Thursday. Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said there was widespread looting of homes and businesses on Panama City Beach, too. He asked for 50 members of the National Guard for protection.

The ground is already inundated, its been a very wet time, said Will Holt, the emergency services director in mountainous Watauga County, N.C., where firefighters have already had to rescue people from flooded areas. The wind is projected to pick back up as well.

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.

In a somewhat unusual step, the state had activated a team from a nonprofit humanitarian aid organization that typically works in overseas disasters, the International Medical Corps, including 50 nurses, two hospital emergency department teams and one emergency hospital.

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."

• Much of the coast of the Florida Panhandle was left in ruins. The area is dotted with small, rural communities, some of them among the poorest in the state. Evacuation was difficult. Read more about how the storm was hard on people without the means to evacuate.

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.

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.

Michael charges into Southeast after slamming north Florida | WSB-TV

Trees downed: Of the hundreds of trees that were knocked down, one fell on a vehicle in northwest Atlanta, trapping a 31-year-old woman inside. She was taken to a hospital with internal injuries.

Hurricane Michael: Florida Panhandle hit with Unimaginable destruction

Numerous tornadoes reported: The National Weather Service said it had confirmed three tornadoes were spawned by Michael. An EF-0 tornado touched down a couple of miles southwest of Atlanta and snapped several large trees. A high-end EF-1 tornado touched down in Crawford County. Numerous trees were knocked down or uprooted. Several homes were damaged by falling trees, NWS said. Damage was also found in Peach County that was thought to be caused by a brief tornado, but NWS said it wants to re-examine radar data to confirm it.

Hurricane Michael leaves 1.2 million in the dark from Florida to Virginia

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. Black said 84 chicken houses, estimated to have held more than 2 million chickens, were destroyed.  

Hurricane Michael: Record-breaking storm claims at least six lives as it sweeps through Florida leaving unimaginable destruction

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.

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

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. Gov. Roy Cooper said dozens of people were rescued from flash floods and rising rivers, the News & Observer reported.

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. Other school districts in North and South Carolina also closed for the day.

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.

Homes flooded: Water rose knee-high and waist-high in communities near Columbia, South Carolina. At least 20 people were evacuated from their homes in Irmo, the State reported, and more than 40 homes had water in them, Ben Smith, assistant chief of the Irmo Fire District, said. 

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.

Flooded roads and water rescues: Numerous roads were closed and water rescues need as rain from Michael flooded southwest and central Virginia on Thursday, the National Weather Service reported, including Roanoke, Danville and southern Pittsylvania County, and Henry County. Hundreds of trees were down in Henry County, too. Reports said several had fallen on homes with people trapped inside. In Hanover County, emergency officials rescued a person after a tree fell on a house. Water rescues were also needed in Richmond. 

Tornado warnings: More than a half dozen tornado warnings were issued Thursday evening for parts of southwestern and central Virginia. The Richmond Times-Dispatch said the National Weather Service reported that a tree fell through a house in Williamsburg as a result of a possible tornado. A roof was blown off a structure in James City County. Earlier, the NWS said radar had confirmed a tornado near Scott's Fork in southern Amelia County.

Alabama Power making steady progress to restore service following Hurricane Michael

Water enters homes: The NWS said the emergency manager for Prince Edward County reported flooding was entering homes, businesses, and government buildings across the county.

Schools closed or opening later: Chesterfield County and Amelia County schools announced they would be closed on Friday. Dinwiddie, Hopewell, King William, and Richmond schools announced they would start two hours late on Friday.

Impact from Michael: What to do if a storm floods your house

State of emergency: Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Thursday as the Commonwealth began to experience serious impacts from the storm.

Posted in Tallahassee