Hurricane Michael roars into Florida

Hurricane Michael roars into Florida

Damaged buildings and a flooded street are seen after Hurricane Michael passed through the downtown area on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida.

Hurricane Michael, the third most powerful storm ever to strike the US mainland, headed northeast on Thursday, weakened but still set to soak Georgia and the Carolinas after devastating the Florida Panhandle.

Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the USA mainland, behind the unnamed Labor Day storm of 1935 and Camille in 1969.

Michael grew from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane in about 40 hours.

Powerful winds, devastating storm surge and heavy rain are predicted in the Florida Panhandle, the finger-shaped strip of land along the Gulf of Mexico.

Live footage from the International Space Station posted to Twitter by NASA showed the enormity of Michael's reach as it made landfall.

After there, the storm will move up through the Carolinas, hit by heavy rains form Hurricane Florence just a few weeks ago. "God bless everyone because it's going to be a rough one", he said. "We thought the windows were going to break at any time", Beu said. The hurricane has given national exposure to Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is trying to unseat Democratic Sen.

More than 500,000 homes and businesses in Florida, Georgia and Alabama have been left without power as the storm moves north east before ending up in the Atlantic by Friday.

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.

"I know that there's a lot of bad stuff that happened out there on the Panhandle, but I think that we were very fortunate here", Lake City resident Tyler Flanagan said.

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More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were ordered or urged to evacuate, but it moved so fast that people didn't have much time to prepare, and emergency authorities lamented that many ignored the warnings, thinking they could ride it out.

In Port St. Joe, two storm chasers had to abandon their vehicle and find shelter as over 100 miles per hour wind gusts and heavy rain made it impossible for them to drive. It strengthened from a tropical storm on Sunday to a Category 1 hurricane with 75-mph winds on Monday.

President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration for Florida, freeing up federal funds for relief operations and providing the assistance of FEMA, which has more than 3,000 people on the ground.

Before the storm made landfall, Scott said he activated 3,500 members of the Florida National Guard.

There has been only one storm with higher sustained wind speeds this far north in the Gulf of Mexico: Hurricane Camille in 1969.

Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather, such as storms, droughts, floods and fires.

"We basically just walked away from everything and said goodbye to it", he said, tears welling up.

"I'm freaking scared I'm going to lose everything I own, man."

Authorities told residents along the affected areas of Florida's Gulf of Mexico coast on Wednesday morning that they had run out of time to evacuate and should hunker down.

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