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Florida is braced for a hurricane 'catastrophe'
11 October 2018, 12:48 | Justin Tyler
Myrtle Beach, which is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Florence, is predicted to experience 46 miles per hour winds - the most powerful gusts in the Palmetto State. Storm surge is going to be the worse where eye makes landfall - just to the east or south of where the eye makes landfall...
Now a tropical storm, Michael is the most powerful storm ever to hit Florida's Panhandle; senior correspondent Rick Leventhal reports from Panama City Beach.
Hurricane-force winds extended up to 45 miles (72 kilometers) from Michael's center at the height of the storm.
Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 miles per hour Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods.
Michael is the fourth Category 4 hurricane to hit the U.S.in just 15 months, joining last year's trio of Harvey, Irma, and Maria - an unprecedented string of catastrophic hurricane disasters.
Regardless of Hurricane Michael's ultimate classification, those in the path of the storm are facing life-threatening winds, storm surge and other unsafe conditions. "Those who stick around to experience storm surge don't typically live to tell about it unfortunately".
Heavy rainfall was projected for areas in the storm's path.
In addition, this storm had the third-lowest central air pressure of any USA landfalling hurricane on record.
Part of the reason Hurricane Michael became so strong and developed so quickly is that the waters of the Gulf of Mexico are much warmer right now than what's normal for October.
The hurricane's peak winds were at 145kmh as it moved north-north west at 19kmh.
The National Weather Service says tornadoes are possible across the Florida Panhandle, southeast Georgia and southern SC through Thursday morning as the hurricane now moves inland.
The National Weather Service office in Tallahassee issued a dramatic appeal for people to comply with evacuation orders.
About 162,000 homes and business customers were already without power around mid-afternoon in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, utility companies said.
In St. Marks, John Hargan and his family gathered up their pets and moved to a raised building constructed to withstand a Category 5 after water from the St. Marks River began surrounding their home.
After Michael left the Panhandle late Wednesday, Kaylee O'Brien was crying as she sorted through the remains of the apartment she shared with three roommates at Whispering Pines apartments, where the smell of broken pine trees was thick in the air.
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