Michael downgraded to tropical storm, kills 2 in Florida

Michael downgraded to tropical storm, kills 2 in Florida

Michael downgraded to tropical storm, kills 2 in Florida

The sun sets late Wednesday on a wreckage-littered street in Panama City, Fla., after Category 4 Hurricane Michael arrived with winds of 155 miles per hour.

This NOAA/RAMMB satellite image taken on Wednesday afternoon shows Hurricane Michael as it approaches the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Michael's winds also toppled trees and power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands without power and flash flooding also was reported in North Carolina's two largest cities, Charlotte and Raleigh. And as rescue workers sift through the debris Thursday, many fear the death toll will rise. Total damages from storm surge are estimated to be $3.7 billion, of which about ten percent will be insured.

FEMA officials famously use the Waffle House Index as a way of measuring storm damage: Since the diner chain is ubiquitous in the southeast, and rarely shuts down in extreme weather, seeing the Waffle House closed down before a storm is a sign that things are about to get extremely bad.

Uprooted trees, downed power poles and limited communications have greatly hindered first responders and families trying to reach residents in need.

Now, having weakened to a tropical storm, Michael was on its way to the Carolinas.

A resident surveys the scattered belongings at a damaged home after Hurricane Michael hit in Panama City, Fla. The damage there consisted mostly of fallen trees.

Michael caused destruction in western Cuba and parts of Central America before striking the United States.

"Absolutely catastrophic! You will not believe your eyes when you see it". Simply put, with warmer seas, storms ought to be able to pull this off more often. "Insurers with the largest market shares in US states to be hit by Hurricane Michael have considerable exposures, but these are manageable given each company's overall policyholder surplus".

Florida Governor Rick Scott promised a strong relief effort from his administration Thursday after the state was slammed by Hurricane Michael, the most powerful storm to hit the USA mainland in 50 years.

Based on wind speed, it was the fourth-strongest, behind the Labor Day storm (296 kph), Camille and Andrew in 1992.

Video from a drone revealed some of the worst damage in Mexico Beach, where the hurricane crashed ashore Wednesday as a Category 4 monster with 155 miles per hour (250 kph) winds and a storm surge of 9 feet (2.7 meters). Four pine trees had crashed through the roof of her apartment, almost hitting two people.

Several hours passed before emergency officials could reach the unincorporated area where the girl was killed, Brooks said.

"We haven't seen her since the tree hit the den".

"We are in new territory", National Hurricane Center (NHC) Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook. "The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no Category 4 hurricane ever hitting the Florida panhandle". "She's my baby", a distraught O'Brien said, her face wet with tears.

Rapid intensification means that a storm has found itself in an ideal environment - one usually characterized by warm waters and little adverse wind shear.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio said restoring power was going to be "long & difficult" as the storm "shredded" its electric grid. But without extensive study, they can not directly link a single weather event to the changing climate.

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