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11 October 2018, 10:15 | Ross Houston
Michael Upgraded To Category 4 'Major' Hurricane As It Approaches Florida Panhandle
Farther inland, Tallahassee city officials were grappling with wind damage that had brought down numerous city's trees, blocking streets and knocking out power.
According to the 10 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Michael's winds had increased to 110 miles per hour and the central pressure was down to 965 millibars.
It was, in other words, a hurricane: the product of multitudinous forces that blend heat, wind and moisture into a potent threat, with a whopping dose of chance thrown in. But storm surge, that's a lot of water that can come onshore.
Increasingly, climate change is part of the risky mix as well.
"This one right here put the fear of God into me".
Horrific before and after photos have captured the utter devastation inflicted by Hurricane Michael after it crashed into several small towns on the Florida Panhandle with near-record force.
"This is really an wonderful event", said Andrew Dessler, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University. As the clock struck Thursday, the storm had weakened to a tropical storm. "It had the pedal to the metal all the way until it hit the coast", he said. National Hurricane Center, the storm made landfall before 2 p.m. ET. An estimated 6,000 people evacuated to emergency shelters, mostly in Florida, and that number was expected to swell to 20,000 across five states by week's end, said Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross. With the Tropical Storm Warning in effect across southeast Georgia the Sidney Lanier will have to be monitored. "This is all Mexico Beach", she added. The Florida health department had 80 ambulance strike teams and 400 ambulances ready, and the state is giving out two million meals and one million gallons of drinking water.
The biggest factor in the power of hurricanes is the difference between the temperature of the surface of the water they pass over and the coolness of the upper atmosphere.
"It's historic, it's extremely life-threatening", said Kenneth Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center, said.
In a recent study in the Journal of Climate, researchers found more rapid intensifications in a simulation of a human-warmed world, and also that this would prove a key pathway toward more intense hurricanes in general.
Scott said one benefit of the rapidly moving Michael was that it hit during the day and was out of the state before sunset.
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He said: "My solidarity and support goes out to the families and friends of victims and all the affected by these tragic floods". Nadal also announced on social media that his tennis academy on the island would offer shelter to people affected by the floods.
Even without the scientific calculations, he said, the connection makes intuitive sense.
Many flights were canceled in the hurricane zone, and Amtrak changed some train schedules to protect passengers and employees. But without extensive study, they can not directly link a single weather event to the changing climate.
Additional strengthening is projected over the next twenty-four hours, with Michael "forecast to be a major hurricane at landfall in Florida".
John Billiot, president of America's Cajun Navy, volunteers who join disaster rescue efforts, said: "We've been doing this since 2005 and I have never been scared of a storm a day in my life".
Although levels are receding in some areas along the Gulf Coast, storm surge will combine with the tide and result in flooding. It will then move across portions of central and eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia into the Atlantic Ocean by late Thursday or early Friday. "Roads are not open and you will not be able to get home if you live in or near the coast", the governor said Thursday morning.
It is the third-most-powerful storm on record to hit the USA, and the worst in almost 50 years, since Hurricane Camille in 1969.
While there is growing scientific agreement on numerous theories about the effects of climate change on storms, there are also areas where consensus has yet to develop. "We know many people have been injured".
Still, he said, "the idea that hurricanes are going to stay exactly the same seems far-fetched".
Boutwell rode out the storm because he didn't think it was going to be so bad.
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