Hurricane Michael devastates Mexico Beach, Florida

First responders in Bay County were no longer able to respond to emergencies as of Wednesday morning and Florida Highway Patrol pulled troopers away from coastal areas, saying it was too risky for them to remain.

It gathered still more strength just before making landfall northwest of the town of Mexico Beach on Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.

A flash flood watch will go into effect at 2 p.m. today and a wind advisory will go into effect at 2 a.m. Friday morning.

A man was killed by a tree that crashed into his home in Gadsden County, Florida on Wednesday, as Hurricane Michael plowed into Alabama and Georgia, leaving behind a path of destruction in the Panhandle.

Hurricane Michael is expected to churn across Columbus Wednesday evening, bringing rain and vicious winds that could topple trees and power lines and leave roads impassable until crews can clear them. Add Hurricane Michael as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Hurricane Michael news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

But the bigger part of its impact still could be to come, with its progress into the state of Georgia expected to be marked by winds far in excess of 100 miles per hour yet, and tornadoes spawned by the turbulence.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the core of Michael will move across central and eastern Georgia Thursday morning, and then over southern and central SC later in the day.

The hurricane made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, at around 2pm on Wednesday, according to the NHC.

O'Shaughnessy said 2,216 active duty personnel had been pre-positioned ahead of the storm, along with 32 helicopters, 240 high-water vehicles and 32 swift water boats.

States of emergency have been declared in all or parts of Florida, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina. Some of those areas are still working to recover from Hurricane Florence.

"I did see something about the hurricane, but I didn't know that it was that close to my hometown", he said. The hurricane hit the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm. That makes Michael the third-strongest hurricane to ever hit the USA and the strongest in almost 50 years.

While we might not get more storms in a warmer climate, most studies show storms will get stronger and produce more rain.

Meteorologists use another measure to evaluate hurricane intensity: central pressure.

"One of my key concerns right now going into is that we haven't seen as robust of an evacuation response from the civilian population that we have seen in other storms", O'Shaughnessy said.

Michael is the strongest storm to hit the mainland since Andrew's 165 mile-per-hour winds in 1992. It had sustained winds of 155 mph, meaning it wasn't from a Category 5 storm - a Category 4 hurricane has sustained winds of up to 156 mph, and Category 5 is 157 mph and above.

  • Joey Payne