Waiting ends: Michael makes landfall with 155 miles per hour winds

Waiting ends: Michael makes landfall with 155 miles per hour winds

"Hurricane Michael is forecast to be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in a century", Governor Rick Scott said.

A satellite image of Michael took the terrifying shape of a skull as it roared closer to the Florida Panhandle as a fierce Category 4 storm on Tuesday.

There is "one hurricane-related fatality", Olivia Smith, public information officer for the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners, said.

Shredded trees, derailed train cars and a sunken trailer are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Oct. 10, 2018.

At 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT), the center of the storm was a few miles northwest of Mexico Beach and about 20 miles (30 km) southeast of Panama City.

A structure in Panama City Beach was no match for Michael's winds, as the home under construction collapsed an hour prior to the Category 4 storm's eyewall coming ashore. The hurricane hit the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm.

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.

Briefing Mr Trump, Brock Long, the United States government's disaster chief, said: "This is the most intense hurricane that's struck this area since 1851".

Damage in Panama City was so extensive that broken and uprooted trees and downed power lines lay almost everywhere.

The National Hurricane Center said Michael would pass through the Carolinas, dumping as much as 20cm of rain in some areas.

It had a low barometric pressure recorded at 919 millibars in its eye, which is how a hurricane's force is measured.

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Michael is the strongest hurricane in terms of wind speed to strike the US mainland since Hurricane Andrew.

It forced more than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast to evacuate as it gained strength quickly while crossing the eastern Gulf of Mexico toward north Florida.

"It is extremely emotional", she said, fighting tears.

"On the forecast track, the core of Michael will move across southeastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia through this evening".

Trump was briefed on the hurricane on Wednesday prior to it making landfall and said he would visit the area early next week.

The local National Weather Service office in Tallahassee issued a chilling warning that Michael was "not comparable to anything we have seen before".

"Along our coast, communities are going to see unimaginable devastation", Scott said, with storm surge posing the greatest danger. He acknowledged that a lot of the residents in the area were poor and said it was probably tough to leave.

According to Climate Central, a scientific research organization, the coming decades are expected to bring hurricanes that intensify more rapidly, should there be no change in the rate of greenhouse gas emissions.

After landfall in Florida, Michael's strong winds and heavy rains thrashed Georgia and headed toward the Carolinas, including areas that got a soaking last month from Hurricane Florence.

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

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