It’s the worst storm to hit the Florida panhandle in over a century. Hurricane Michael, a category 4 storm, slammed into the Sunshine State, bringing winds over 150 mph. The footage of the devastation will chill your blood.
It’s time to start praying for Florida. Hurricane Michael made landfall in the early hours of Oct. 10, the potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm touching down near Mexico beach, Florida with maximum sustained winds at 155 mph, according to The Weather Channel. The storm, which is about 20 miles southeast of Panama City and moving north-northeastward, is expected to dump up to 12 inches of heavy rain. The hurricane is also expected to bring a storm surge up to 14 feet high.
For a state that is often struck by hurricanes, Michael is the first Cat. 4 storm to hit the Florida Panhandle (in records dating back to 1851.) The storm started off as a tropical depression the weekend before, and had reached Category 2 strength just a day before it hit landfall. The reason behind this? Hurricane Michael moved over some very warm water in the Gulf of Mexico, highly unusual for this time of year (and something that has been attributed to global warming), per The Verge.
Michael also had hot towers – tall thunderstorms that form in the eyewall of a hurricane – and these storms release heat that all the water vapor condenses into cloud water. Cloud water releases a burst of heat, and hurricanes love heat. Hot towers like “hurricane steroids,” or “supercharged pistons in the engine.”
Hurricane Michael’s winds are “going to knock down a lot of trees, say, in the Tallahassee area, all of these areas inland. It’s going to be big problems … as far as the wind goes, and then coastal storm surge,” CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray said. Michael is expected to move inland towards Georgia around Wednesday evening, hopefully weakening back to a Category 2. However, even at a lower category, the storm will pose a major threat. “The citizens in Georgia need to wake up and pay attention. … This is going to be the worst storm that southwest Georgia and central Georgia (has) seen in many, many decades,” said Brock Long, a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator.
— WEATHER/ METEO WORLD (@StormchaserUKEU) October 10, 2018
— Jim Rupe (@JimRupe) October 10, 2018
“I am scared to death for the people who chose not to evacuate. This is just a horrendous storm,” Florida Governor Rick Scott told CNN. 4.2 million people were under hurricane warnings in Florida’s Panhandle and Big bend regions, as were parts of southeastern Alabama and Southern Georgia. Tropical storm warnings ran up the coastline of the southeastern United States. Rainfall and flooding is a significant threat inland up to the Carolinas, who are still recovering from Hurricane Florence. With over a million power outages predicted, it’s possible that Michael’s devastation will be affecting citizens for weeks – if not months – to come.