Science

Hurricane Michael brings devastation to Florida

Hurricane Michael brings devastation to Florida”

Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle Wednesday as the most powerful storm to strike the US mainland in 50 years.

The storm, which had caught many by surprise with its rapid intensification as it churned north over the Gulf of Mexico, made landfall north-west of the town of Mexico Beach at about 1:40 pm (local time) as a category four hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.

In any case, no matter how you measure it, Michael is among the most powerful hurricanes in recent memory along with Camille in 1969, Andrew in 1992 and Katrina in 2005. The Carolinas are still reeling from severe flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence less than a month ago. "Those who stick around to experience storm surge don't typically live to tell about it unfortunately".

Panama City, some 20 miles (32km) from Mexico Beach, has borne the brunt of the storm, as it downed trees, knocked power lines, tore off roofs, and splintered homes, some of which have collapsed.

"Storm surge will be the most damaging aspect of the storm", says Kottlowski.

"Hurricane Michael is an unprecedented event and can not be compared to any of our previous events".

"This is total devastation", she told CNN.

The eye of Hurricane Michael, as seen from the International Space Station.

A child was killed in Seminole County, Georgia during the storm, emergency management officials said.

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. More than 375,000 people had been urged or ordered to evacuate, but emergency authorities lamented that many people ignored the warnings and seemed to think they could ride it out.

The National Weather Service office in Tallahassee issued a dramatic appeal for people to comply with evacuation orders.

The NWS said it had found no record of any previous Category 4 hurricanes that made landfall in the Panhandle or the "Big Bend" coastal region.

"The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no category four hurricane ever hitting the Florida panhandle".

"Where homes were, they are not", Ginger Zee, ABC's chief meteorologist, said in a video posted on Twitter.

Hurricane-force winds extended up to 45 miles (75 kilometers) from Michael's center. Some of those areas are still working to recover from Hurricane Florence. The planet has warmed significantly over the past several decades, causing changes in the environment.

A year ago saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Harvey, which caused a record-equalling US$125 billion in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area.

Though wind speed is the basis for hurricane categories, central pressure is actually a better measure of damage that a hurricane will cause, a study published past year in the journal Nature Communications found.

In the case of Michael the damage will be mainly from wind rather than rain.



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