Death Toll from Hurricane Michael Rises to at Least Five

Death Toll from Hurricane Michael Rises to at Least Five

Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the US mainland, behind the unnamed Labor Day storm of 1935 and Camille in 1969.

Michael crashed ashore on Wednesday near the small town of Mexico Beach as the third most powerful hurricane ever to strike the USA mainland, carrying winds of up to 155 miles per hour (250 kilometers per hour) and causing deep seawater flooding.

For comparison, here's a look at the strength of and damage caused by other notable storms that hit the U.S. in recent years.

With more than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast warned to clear out, the hurricane's leading edge began lashing the shoreline with tropical storm-force winds, rain and rising seas before daybreak, hours before Michael's centre was expected to blow ashore. As of Thursday morning, the storm was centered about 40 miles west-northwest of Columbia, South Carolina, and is headed northeast.

Michael's full devastation in Florida and other parts of the Southeast is still being assessed, but it is certain that there will never be another Hurricane Michael in the Atlantic, the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico, as its name will be retired at the end of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.

An estimated 325,000 residents in the path of the storm were told to evacuate by local authorities, but only 6,000 people came to the roughly 80 shelters across Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas, officials said.

Mexico Beach, Florida, is not just destroyed. Roofs were peeled away and sent airborne. Water levels approached the tops of palm trees.

Seminole County is "pitch black", in "complete and total devastation", Travis Brooks, director of Seminole County's Emergency Management Agency told ABC News.

Megan McCall says her brother Jeff and his family were riding out the storm in the Panhandle.

D'Mitry Charlton and Ian Johnson are both Bahamian students attending universities in the Florida Panhandle.

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Stores and entire shopping centers that were turned into piles of rubble. Power outages affected nearly 700,000 customers in the two states alone. The damage at Bay Medical Sacred Heart included blown-out windows, a cracked exterior wall and a roof collapse. The hospital was evacuating 130 patients as it faced challenges of running on generators after the storm knocked out power, ripped off part of its roof and smashed windows, a spokesman for the hospital's owner HCA Healthcare said in an email. Gale Berry, 59, said their neighborhood was littered with debris and downed trees after Hurricane Hermine, which made landfall in 2016 as a Category 1 storm.

On the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, category 4 includes winds of up to 156mph with possible severe damage to even well-built homes and trees being felled. He had one word to describe what he saw: "apocalyptic".

"It's a sight to see, and very sad".

"It's very hard to explain", said Jason Gunderson, a member of the Cajun Navy rescue group.

Currently, Michael is approximately 395 miles south of Panama City, Florida and around 365 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida. They're also concerned about flooding rains. They meant to sell children's toys and host family-friendly events, a need they saw in the community.

"I still can't believe it".

Across the bay in Panama City Beach, a resort city on the Gulf of Mexico known for its white-sand beach and amusement parks, winds of about 100 miles per hour furiously whipped the trees in the early afternoon and pulled apart homes. A hurricane warning has been discontinued for the Gulf coast of Florida.

More than 900,000 homes and businesses in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas were without power.

The National Hurricane Center has issued a storm surge warning for portions of the coasts of the Florida Panhandle, Big Bend, and Nature Coast.

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for. The planet has warmed significantly over the past several decades, causing changes in the environment. The fate of many residents remained unknown last night. "We want to get them out of the way". The home of the 325th Fighter Wing and some 600 military families appeared squarely targeted for the worst of the storm's fury, and leaders declared "HURCON 1" status, ordering out all but essential personnel.

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