Hurricane Michael upgraded to 'extremely dangerous' Category 4 storm

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

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

The powerful storm made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane Wednesday afternoon and ripped through the Florida Panhandle with 155 miles per hour winds and 12-foot waves.

The storm came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson wind scale. Data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 125 miles per hour (205 km/h) with higher gusts. The whirlwind hurricane continues to pick up speed, and The National Weather Service in Tallahassee called Michael "potentially catastrophic". The storm is moving north at 12 miles per hour.

"My God, it's scary".

North Carolina is expected to feel impacts from Michael late Wednesday or early Thursday. Neighborhood streets flooded as waves battered the shoreline. The lead-grey water was so high that roofs were about all that could be seen of many homes.

The Florida Disaster website on October 9 said that parts or all of Bay County, Citrus County, Franklin County, Dixie County, Gulf County, Jackson County, Levy County, Okaloosa County, Taylor County, Wakulla County, and Walton County have been issued mandatory evacuation orders. Wind damage was also widespread.

Several people were taken by van from coastal Wakulla County to Tallahassee's Leon County to the north. Wakulla County's shelters are not considered reliable against storms stronger than a Category 2.

Michael was forecast to have the power to uproot trees, block roads and knock out power for days by the time it hits Florida Wednesday.

Some parts of Florida have issued mandatory evacuations for residents.

Commissioner Bill Dozier also reminded anyone staying behind to stock up on supplies and "don't expect the government to help take care of you".

"I've been talking to mayors, to county commissioners, I think people are taking this serious", Scott said. "It's very, very scary".

"We haven't seen her since the tree hit the den". You can not hide from this storm.

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

Gov Scott warned that he may order more evacuations due to the size of the potential storm surge.

"Satellite images of Michael's evolution on Tuesday night were, in a word, jaw-dropping", wrote Bob Henson, a meteorologist with weather site Weather Underground.

Jacksonville will experience tropical storm force gusts Wednesday evening and Thursday morning long after the hurricane makes landfall and pushes northwest of Waycross in central Georgia.

Forecasters say Michael was upgraded to a Category 2 storm Tuesday morning, and it could make landfall as a Category 3.

Alabama, Florida and Georgia have declared states of emergency in all or parts of the states.

At mid-afternoon, about 192,000 homes and business customers were already without power in Florida alone, with more outages reported in Georgia and Alabama, utility companies said. About 1,250 National Guard soldiers were assisting and more than 4,000 troops were on standby.

Tropical storm warnings are posted from the Alabama/Florida border westward to Alabama's border with MS, as well as from Suwannee River, Florida, to Chassahowitzka, Florida. "This is going to have structure damaging winds along the coast and hurricane force winds inland".

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