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How Hurricane Michael became a monster storm
11 October 2018, 04:13 | Ross Houston
Brian Bon inspects damages in the Panama City downtown area after Hurricane Michael made landfall in Panama
As the storm crashed ashore, wind gusts from Panama City to Mexico Beach reached 209kmh and Apalachicola reported over 2 metres of inundation from ocean water, a new record.
Corelogic noted the compact nature of hurricane Michael, which will have limited the size of the swathe of damage on landfall, but the storm surge has impacted a wide area from Mobile, AL to Tampa, FL, with the maximum storm surge anticipated to be east of Panama City to coastal cities south of Tallahassee, the firm said. Interstate 10 was closed west of Tallahassee. But it was still menacing the Southeast with heavy rains, blustery winds and possible spinoff tornadoes, soaking areas swamped by epic flooding last month from Hurricane Florence.
Its sustained winds were just 3.2km/h shy of an extremely rare Category 5. "It sounded like 40 jet engines going off".
A store lost its awning after winds ripped it from its foundation in Panama City, Florida.
"I am hearing on TV, as all of us go home, it will be like a war zone", she added.
- Power outages: More than 780,000 customers in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and SC without power.
For insurance-linked security (ILS) and catastrophe bond interests though, this initial estimate perhaps will give some comfort that the impacts to the sector will not be particularly significant, compared to a similarly severe storm impacting an area of Florida with higher levels of property density and exposure.
It forced more than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast to evacuate as it gained strength quickly while crossing the eastern Gulf of Mexico towards north Florida.
Without the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico to provide it fuel, forecasters say Michael will be downgraded even further to a tropical storm by Thursday morning.
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Before the storm made landfall, Scott said he activated 3,500 members of the Florida National Guard.
President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for all of Florida on Wednesday.
Based on wind speed, it was the fourth-strongest, behind Andrew in 1992, Camille, and the biggest one of all, an unnamed 1935 Labor Day storm that had winds of 296kph.
Meteorologists watched satellite imagery in complete awe as the storm intensified, with experts saying it is the worst ever recorded in the region.
"We are in new territory", National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook. It had sustained winds of 155 mph, meaning it wasn't from a Category 5 storm - a Category 4 hurricane has sustained winds of up to 156 mph, and Category 5 is 157 mph and above.
Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather, such as storms, droughts, floods and fires.
Hargan, a bartender at a riverfront restaurant, feared he would lose his home and his job to the storm. "I think its because of the way it kind of played out".
Utility crews from Gulf Power, Duke Energy Florida, Florida Power & Light and public utilities have lined up more than 19,000 workers from their own crews and through mutual-aid agreements with companies across the South and Midwest.
Only a skeleton staff remains at the home of the 325th Fighter Wing after the base's aircraft, which include F-11 Raptors, were flown hundreds of kilometres away as a precaution.
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Supercharged overnight, Hurricane Michael menaces Florida
Any time a tropical system, and it's remnants, move north up the East Coast we need to be concerned here in ME for wind and rain. Florida Governor Rick Scott said Michael was expected to be "the most deadly, destructive storm to the Panhandle in decades".
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