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Watch Hurricane Michael make landfall on Florida webcams

11 October 2018

Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the US mainland, behind the unnamed Labor Day storm of 1935 and Camille in 1969.

At 11 a.m., the core of extremely risky Hurricane Michael was closing in on the Florida Panhandle in the area of Panama City.

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".

Boats are seen in a pile of rubble after hurricane Michael passed through the downtown area on October 10, 2018, in Panama City, Florida.

The storm's maximum sustained winds at the time of landfall were 155 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. The most powerful hurricane on record to hit Florida's Panhandle left wide destruction and at least one person dead and wasn't almost finished Thursday as it crossed Georgia toward the Carolinas, still reeling from epic flooding in Hurricane Florence.

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Hurricane Michael continued to batter the Southeast, pummeling states with powerful rain, wind and flooding. It had sustained winds of 155 mph, meaning it wasn't from a Category 5 storm - a Category 4 hurricane has sustained winds of up to 156 mph, and Category 5 is 157 mph and above. Reporters on the ground said they could hear electric transformers exploding.

"We are catching some hell", Timothy Thomas, who rode out the storm with his wife in their home in Panama City Beach, Florida, told the Associated Press news agency. Emergency crews were heading to the home, but downed power lines and blocked roads were making the trip hard.

The National Hurricane Center reported maximum sustained winds near 150 miles per hour with the potential to bring unsafe storm surge and heavy rains to the Florida panhandle area.

Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the most powerful hurricane to blow ashore on the USA mainland since Camille in 1969.

It was downgraded to a tropical storm, with top sustained winds diminishing to 95km/h early today.

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The storm is expected to drop as much as 12 inches of rain in some areas of the state before continuing its path north into Georgia and moving northward into southeastern New England Thursday night and Friday.

Hurricane-force winds extended up to 45 miles (75 kilometers) from Michael's center.

So it will take some time for the full scale of the property damage from hurricane Michael to be understood.

The National Weather Service office in 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. The hurricane hit the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm.

Michael has now weakened to a tropical storm over south-central Georgia but is forecast to dump torrential rain over Florida, Alabama and Georgia, as well as the Carolinas and into Virginia.

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As the hurricane moves out of Florida, Scott warned that flash floods and tornadoes are still possibilities and said "the weather is still extremely risky".