Florida is braced for a hurricane 'catastrophe'

Hurricane Michael roared ashore in Florida on Wednesday, flooding homes and streets and toppling trees and power lines in the Gulf of Mexico beachfront town where it made landfall as a raging Category 4 storm.

Long, the head of FEMA, said many Florida buildings were not built to withstand a storm above the strength of a Category 3 hurricane on the five-level Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency on Tuesday for 92 counties in his state, and a state of emergency also was announced in North Carolina.

On the forecast track, Michael was expected to pass northeast through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia on Wednesday Thursday as a tropical storm.

She said: "I'm anxious about my daughter and grandbaby".

The Weather Channel warns of "catastrophic storm surge" and incredibly high speed winds associated with the storm.

The storm continued on its destructive path, bringing heavy rains and tearing down trees.

"Storms like that are referred to in hushed tones", said Phil Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University who specializes in Atlantic Ocean hurricane forecasts.

Position: The hurricane was about 120 miles southwest of Panama City, Florida, as of 6 a.m. ET this morning, per CNN.

Even before landfall, the hurricane disrupted energy operations in the Gulf, cutting crude oil production by more than 40 percent and natural gas output by almost a third as offshore platforms were evacuated ahead of the storm's arrival. A man was killed by a falling tree in Tallahassee.

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Michael is predicted to be a tropical storm by the time it reaches the SC border with Georgia, according to the National Weather Service.

Hurricane Michael, the most powerful storm the USA has seen in almost 50 years, is moving through the Florida Panhandle, ripping apart homes and sending walls of water rushing inland.

About 162,000 homes and business customers were already without power around mid-afternoon in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, utility companies said. Hundreds of military families were moved out, and the base's aircraft, which include F-22 Raptors, were flown to safety hundreds of miles away.

"This situation has NEVER happened before", it said on Twitter.

"This is a full month later than we've ever seen a hurricane with anywhere near this strength", he said.

"I think that if people are comparing storms, what was really fascinating was that it was still intensifying when it was making landfall, which is similar to Hurricane Camille also intensifying as it moved inland", says AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.

"Oh my God, what are we seeing?" said evacuee Rachel Franklin, her mouth hanging open.

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

President Donald Trump has since approved an emergency declaration for Florida, permitting the federal government to provide resources and aid during Hurricane Michael.

A child was killed in Seminole County, Georgia during the storm, emergency management officials said.

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