Monster Hurricane Michael brings 'unimaginable devastation' as it slams Florida

Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle Wednesday as the most powerful storm to strike the US mainland in 50 years.

"Hurricane Michael can not break Florida", Scott vowed.

Olivia Smith, public information officer for the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners, said there was "one hurricane-related fatality", adding that the incident was "debris-related".

Panama City is also a mess of downed trees, and damaged buildings - as is likely the case throughout much of the surrounding areas in the Florida Panhandle.

The hurricane arrived near Mexico Beach in Florida at 2pm (6pm GMT). "The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no category four hurricane ever hitting the Florida Panhandle". The Carolinas, still recovering following Hurricane Florence, could see heavy rain, potentially causing flooding.

As the Category 4 storm's center crossed nearby, Mulligan said, the concrete building shook and vibrated against sustained winds around 155 miles per hour.

An estimated 6,000 evacuees took cover in emergency shelters, majority in Florida, and that number was expected to swell to 20,000 across five states by week's end, Kieserman said.

Earlier in the day, US President Donald Trump stirred some controversy by refusing to cancel his MAGA rally in Erie, Pennsylvania due to the storm. Smith, the sheriff of Franklin County, a coastal patch south of Tallahassee, told CNN that the county was almost isolated after most of the main roads were rendered impassable from flooding and downed trees.

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"Upwards of 8- to 12-foot storm surge is expected, so there could be some significant low-lying flooding in coastal areas", said National Weather Liaison Ken Widelski.

Michael's minimum central pressure remained at 923 millibars in the most recent National Hurricane advisory as it moved north-northeast at 14 miles per hour.

The risk of life-threatening storm surge, flooding rains, and risky winds are increasing for the northeastern Gulf Coast.

The National Hurricane Center predicts Michael will stay a powerful and risky rainmaker as it moves across the U.S. Southeast and off the Mid-Atlantic coast before heading out to sea by Friday.

While there may be no civil implications for staying, Gov. Rick Scott reiterated the dangers of remaining in a hurricane evacuation zone. Michael was forecast to move inland over the Panhandle on Wednesday afternoon, and across southeastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia on Wednesday night. "I didn't expect all this", he said. He said he plans to visit storm-ravaged areas as soon as he can.

Population centres that could witness some of the most severe hurricane effects include Fort Walton Beach, Destin and Panama City Beach.

The National Weather Service office in the state capital Tallahassee issued a dramatic appeal for people to comply with evacuation orders. He acknowledged that a lot of the residents in the area were poor and said it was probably tough to leave. It was the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S.in almost 50 years and at least one death was reported during its passage.

Scientists have long warned that global warming will make storms more destructive, and some say the evidence for this may already be visible.

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