Hurricane Michael Crushes Mexico Beach, Florida

Hurricane Michael hits Florida barely skirting past Jewish community

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A tree lays on a home and vehicle after hurricane Michael passed through the area on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida.

Unusually warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico turbo-charged the storm from a tropical depression on Sunday.

Though wind speed is the basis for hurricane categories, central pressure is actually a better measure of damage that a hurricane will cause, a study published a year ago in the journal Nature Communications found.

The four-star general added that some Florida residents may have been surprised by the rapid growth of the storm.

More than 180,000 people along the Florida Panhandle were under mandatory evacuation orders.

A risky storm surge continued along the coastal Florida panhandle; a National Ocean Service station in Apalachicola was reporting 5 feet of water above the ground level.

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There are 10 military bases, with a combined 700,000 military members and their families in Michael's path, and not all of them evacuated, he said.

At least one person was killed, an official in Gadsden County west of the state capital Tallahassee told AFP, giving the first confirmed death from the powerful storm.

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.

Hurricane Michael sliced through the Florida Panhandle mid-Wednesday, hitting towns that had prepared for a Category 2 storm but found themselves in the cross hairs of a Category 4 hurricane instead.

"We just hope those structures can hold up", President Donald Trump responded.

Michael is likely to dump heavy rain over Florida, Alabama, Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

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- Major pressure: 919 millibars minimum pressure in the hurricane's eye, the third most intense hurricane landfall in the U.S.in recorded history.

"Going back through records to 1851 we can't find another Cat 4 in this area, so this is unfortunately a historical and incredibly risky and life-threatening situation", he said.

As of 5:30 a.m., PowerOutage.US reported almost 358,000 customers of Georgia utilities were without power, with that number expected to grow as the storm continued to move across the state. About 3,500 Florida National Guard troops were deployed, along with more than 1,000 search-and-rescue personnel, Governor Scott said.

There was no curfew in effect in Lowndes County, but Brooks County did enact one beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Michael continues to weaken this morning and is now down to a Tropical Storms as of the 2AM update.

The same will not be the case for the near 300-mile stretch of coastline from Pensacola to Cedar Key, which attracts around 17 million visitors a year to its pristine white-sand beaches and clear, shallow emerald-green waters.

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A McDonald's sign damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Panama City Beach.

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