FIRST LOOK: Hurricane Michael Devastates, Strongest To Hit Since 1851

Although Hurricane Michael has been downgraded to a tropical storm, many Floridians in the upper, panhandle region of the state witnessed absolute devastation when the storm made landfall as a category 4.

The storm brought with it wind speeds of 155 miles-per-hour and 12-foot waves.

As Fox News reports, the storm was the fourth most powerful to make landfall anywhere in the U.S. in terms of wind strength and the third most powerful in terms of air pressure.

“It was the first storm of its magnitude to make landfall in the Panhandle since record-keeping began 1851,” the report continued.

The damage across the Panhandle was considerable: homes were toppled, vehicles were carried away, trees and other debris were ripped out of the ground. At least two people have already been reportedly killed:


An unidentified man in the Florida Panhandle was killed by a fallen tree when it ripped through his home’s roof, a spokeswoman for the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office told Fox News.

An 11-year-old girl in Seminole County, Ga., was killed Wednesday afternoon when thrashing winds sent a car or boat port airborne onto the family’s mobile home, Fox News has confirmed. The girl, whose identity has not been released, was hit by the structure as it tore through the home’s roof.

Authorities told WMAZ-TV that first responders didn’t reach the home until after nightfall due to downed trees and power lines blocking their way.

Search and rescue crews were expected to escalate efforts to reach hardest-hit areas and check for anyone trapped or injured in the storm debris.

Rescue and recovery efforts are already underway, IJR reports:

U.S. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for all of Florida, freeing federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses.

About 3,500 Florida National Guard troops were deployed, along with more than 1,000 search-and-rescue personnel, Governor Rick Scott said.

The Pentagon positioned more than 2,200 active-duty military personnel, along with helicopters, high-water vehicles and swift-water boats.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has repeatedly warned residents of the state to stay away from affected regions until they are notified they are cleared and safe.

“We are still in the process of assessing damages from Hurricane Michael,” Scott tweeted before he added an all-caps warning: “DO NOT RETURN TO YOUR HOUSE UNTIL YOU ARE TOLD IT IS SAFE.”

And, “Going out without having a clear route will put you and your family in danger.”

“We need the roads in impacted counties to be clear for first responders and search and rescue teams so that they can do their jobs and save lives,” the governor continued. “Please do not put yourself or your family in danger by going out on the roads.”

The storm left more than 380,000 homes in Florida without power and, as the storm continued its trail of destruction, left another 300,000 people without power in Georgia, WSB-TV reports.

And, from IJR:

The Category 4 hurricane was the fiercest to hit Florida in 80 years when it came ashore on Wednesday, but its strength waned as it pushed into Georgia. Early on Thursday, it was downgraded to a tropical storm, with top sustained winds diminishing to 60 miles per hour.

More than 700,000 homes and businesses were without power in Florida, Alabama and Georgia early Thursday. Thousands hunkered down in shelters overnight after fleeing their homes to escape the fast-approaching storm.

Fox News reports despite the storm’s drop in rating to a tropical storm, there are still weather advisory warnings for areas in Georgia and the Carolinas:

The storm, which has sustained winds of 50 mph, was about 30 miles west of Augusta, Ga., and 90 miles northeast of Macon, the National Hurricane Center said in a 5 a.m. ET advisory.

According to the agency, strong winds, heavy rain and tornadoes are expected across parts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina through Thursday. Rainfall of 4-7 inches could inundate parts of Georgia, which could also see flash-flooding.

WATCH:

Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.

DISCLAIMER: Views expressed in articles do not necessarily reflect the views held by Sarah Palin.


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