Michael downgraded to tropical storm, but still packing a punch

Flood waters hit the Cooter Stew Cafe in Saint Marks Florida on Oct. 10 2018 as Hurricane Michael pushes the storm surge

In 2016, Hurricane Matthew, which caused the deaths of almost 600 people in Haiti, quickly grew to a Category 5 storm with sustained winds up 165 miles an hour because of rapid intensification.

Richard Fausset of The New York Times said the winds were so intense that it felt like a California quake. But after the storm passed, she emerged to check on the cafe she manages and discovered a scene of breathtaking destruction.

The hurricane hit the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm.

People seek safety in a shelter as Hurricane Michael approaches, October 10, 2018, in Panama City, Fla. A house on the highway. Roofs and awnings are peeled from buildings, pieces of homes are scattered amid snapped trees and downed power lines, chunks of beaches are washed away. Widespread power outages are expected to stretch from parts of the Florida panhandle up through Georgia as well as the Carolinas, but anyone within reach of the storm's rapid winds should be prepared to be without power at some point over the next few days. The debris was a problem in many coastal communities and still hundreds of thousands of people were also left without power. More than 1,000 state forestry and wildlife officers were prepared for search-and-rescue operations, Scott said.

See Hurricane Michael from Space in These Satellite Images
Forecasters said parts of Florida's marshy, lightly populated Big Bend area could see up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) of storm surge. The storm caused widespread destruction in Central America over the weekend, where at least 13 people have been reported dead.


A hurricane warning remains in place from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida.

Until we have a much clearer picture of damage in the immediate landfall area, surge flooding along the coast to either side of that and the wind and flood damage further inland, the full size of the insurance and reinsurance industry loss remains hard to forecast. The winds ripped off hotel awnings, shattered glass doors, blew down fences and stirred up white caps in swimming pools.

"Oh my God, what are we seeing?" said evacuee Rachel Franklin, her mouth hanging open.

It also brought the dangers of a life-threatening storm surge. It was the strongest storm to hit the continental USA since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

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Linda Albrecht, a councilwoman in Mexico Beach, spoke to the network about leaving her home with only a few essential objects. Many buildings have no roofs.

"We are in new territory", National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook.

As it approaches the Florida panhandle, Hurricane Michael has intensified into a Category 4 hurricane.

The storm is likely to fire up the debate over global warming. Gusts of 30 miles per hour could reach Charlotte by about 2 p.m., and gusts above 39 miles per hour - tropical storm strength - are possible, the weather service said. Water seeped into her fourth floor apartment When she dared to look outside, water levels were grazing the fronds of tall palm trees on the beach. But without extensive study, they can not directly link a single weather event to the changing climate. "We haven't seen as robust of an evacuation response from the civilian population that we have seen in other storms".

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McConnell is also preparing for his own re-election in 2020 and, if he is successful, staying on as GOP leader. Heading into the November midterms, the GOP is defending its House and Senate majorities.


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