Hurricane Michael by the numbers: Over 900000 homes, businesses without power

Hurricane Michael by the numbers: Over 900000 homes, businesses without power

After it makes landfall, the storm is predicted to pass into Georgia, where Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday issued a state of emergency covering 92 counties - almost the entire lower two-thirds of his state.

"We haven't seen her since the tree hit the den. Multiple state and federal resources are staged and ready to respond as soon as it is safe". The vast majority are in Florida and Georgia. "On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico through tonight".

Storm surge is also inundating some areas along the Panhandle.

More than 400,000 utility customers remained without power Thursday morning as thousands of rescue and utility crew members spread out across coastal and rural Panhandle communities to respond to the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Michael.

The National Weather Service office in Tallahassee issued a dramatic appeal for people to comply with evacuation orders. Meanwhile 350 Florida Highway Patrol troopers have been dispatched to assist with storm preparations. Large limbs may break, or entire trees may topple over. Popular with tourists for its beaches, the area also has many year-round residents. "Trees are top heavy as a result", AccuWeather's Marshall Moss said.

Anxious meteorologists said it had the potential of becoming one of the worst storms in the history of Florida's Panhandle. We will continue to monitor Hurricane Michael's path and GEMA/HS is leading our preparedness efforts.

The region should brace for "major infrastructure damage", specifically to electricity distribution, wastewater treatment systems and transportation networks, Jeff Byard, associate administrator for FEMA, told reporters on a conference call with Reuters.

But the full extent of the damage and other casualties was uncertain: Residents and emergency workers spent most of the day hunkered down, and emerged only towards nightfall to begin assessing the storm's toll. Forecasters said it would unleash damaging wind and rain all the way into the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence's epic flooding.

Michael thrashed Georgia as a hurricane and eventually weakened to a tropical storm early Thursday as it moved toward the Carolinas, soaking areas that got swamped last month by Hurricane Florence.

"My God it's scary".

A storage facility in Panama City Beach housing hundreds of boats was ripped apart by the strong winds with the roof shredding into strips of twisted metal.

People in coastal parts of 20 Florida counties had been told to leave their homes but by Wednesday morning were told it was too late to flee.

While many cities along the Florida Panhandle enjoy the protection of various channel, barrier and tied islands, which can help stifle the impact of storm surge on the mainland, Mexico Beach sits between Crooked Island and the St. Joseph Peninsula, directly on the water.

"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. "It really started as a tropical storm, and then it went to Category 1, then it was Category 2 and before you know it, it was Category 4", said US Air Force General Terrence O'Shaughnessy. It's very, very scary. Uprooted trees. Piles of rubble and debris everywhere. "We're working diligently to get to everyone as quickly as we can".

Hurricane Michael battered the Florida Panhandle yesterday, some Bahamian students studying in Florida evacuated affected areas, while others bunkered down through what Florida governor Rick Scott has described as the worst storm to hit the area in a century.