See Hurricane Michael from Space in These Satellite Images

'We've Never Seen Anything Like It in the Panhandle': Monstrous Hurricane Michael Set to Strike Florida

Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday with potentially catastrophic winds of 155 miles per hour, the most powerful hurricane to hit the USA mainland in almost 50 years.

A hurricane warning is now posted for the Florida Gulf coast from the Alabama/Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida, including Pensacola, Panama City and Tallahassee. Category 5 storms occur when winds reach 157 miles per hour or higher.

The storm's intensity waned steadily as it pushed inland and curled northeasterly into Georgia after dark.

At 2 p.m. Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said Michael had top sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (175 kph).

The storm caused widespread destruction in Central America over the weekend, where at least 13 people have been reported dead.

It swamped streets, bent trees, stripped away limbs and leaves, knocked out power, shredded awnings and sent other building debris flying.

"Don't think that you can ride this out if you're in a low-lying area", Nelson said on CNN.

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Accompanying the news were several sweet throwback photos of the couple and their siblings to mark the special occasion. Also taking up the role of bridesmaids will be Savannah and Isla Phillips, the daughters of Peter and Autumn Phillips.


"My God, it's scary".

"We don't know if it's going to wipe out our house or not", Jason McDonald, of Panama City, said as he and his wife drove north to safety into Alabama with their two children, ages 5 and 7.

The Pentagon positioned more than 2,200 active-duty military personnel, along with helicopters, high-water vehicles and swift-water boats.

Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said he's "not seeing the level of traffic" he would expect when three-quarters of the county's residents are under mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders.

Forecasters said parts of Florida's marshy, lightly populated Big Bend area could see up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) of storm surge.

In the small Panhandle city of Apalachicola, Mayor Van Johnson Sr. said the 2,300 residents were frantically preparing for what could be a blow unlike any seen there in decades. According to the National Weather Service, hurricane hunters in planes report that the storm is growing stronger as it moves northward. "Take care of them", Scott said. "Houses that have been there forever are just shattered". The roar of the winds, he said, sounded like a jet engine. "It's very, very scary".

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

Florida declares state of emergency in 26 counties as Hurricane Michael approaches
But it rapidly intensified, and its top winds clocked in at 60 miles per hour (95 kph) by late Sunday evening. The eye is expected to move inland over the Florida panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday.


"This situation has NEVER happened before", it said on Twitter. "Evacuation routes can quickly turn into traffic nightmares".

Mr Rick Scott told a news conference on Tuesday: "Hurricane Michael is a monster storm and it keeps getting more risky".

Michael also wreaked havoc in the Caribbean.

Supercharged by abnormally warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Category 4 storm crashed ashore in the early afternoon near Mexico Beach, a tourist town about midway along the Panhandle, a 200-mile (320-kilometre) stretch of white-sand beach resorts, fishing towns and military bases. About 1,250 National Guard soldiers were aiding the process and more than 4,000 troops placed on standby, Scott tweeted. It also set off transformer explosions and knocked out power to more than 190,000 homes and businesses."We are catching some hell", said Timothy Thomas, who rode out the storm with his wife in their second-floor apartment in Panama City Beach.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 35 counties along the panhandle and Florida's Big Bend regions. Forecasters said tornadoes could spin off the storm and 7.5cm to 15cm of rain could cause flash floods as it barrels over a corner of the country still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

Michael could dump up to a foot (30 centimetres) of rain over some Panhandle communities before its remnants go back out to sea by way of the mid-Atlantic states over the next few days.

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Additionally, the CDC has found a possible link between an increase in a respiratory virus and an increase of AFM. And there are other diseases that mimic the symptoms, such as West Nile virus and Guillain Barre syndrome.


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