Hurricane Michael makes landfall on the Florida Panhandle as the catastrophic Category 4 storm whips the coast with 155 mph winds in what could be the worst ever to hit the region

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
By Paul Martin

Hurricane Michael strengthened into a Category 4 storm with winds of up to 155mph on Wednesday
The eye of the monstrous hurricane made landfall near Mexico Beach just before 2pm
More than 375,000 people in 22 Florida counties were under evacuation orders and advisories
But Florida Governor Rick Scott warned Wednesday morning it was now too late to evacuate and urged people to seek refuge immediately
It is forecast to bring strong winds, up to a foot of rain and life-threatening storm surge of up to 14 feet
Meteorologists said it had the potential to become one of the worst storms in the history of the region
Multiple airports were closed in Florida on Wednesday and more than 453 flights had been canceled
President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio warned anyone in the path of the storm surge: ‘You’re going to die’

By EMILY CRANE
DAILYMAIL.COM
10 October 2018

Hurricane Michael increased in strength as it slammed into Florida on Wednesday afternoon as a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane, pushing a deadly storm surge and whipping the coast with 155 mph winds.

The eye of the monstrous hurricane made landfall near Mexico Beach just before 2pm and the eyewall came ashore minutes earlier between Panama City and St. Vincent Island.

Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 45 miles from the center and those winds were tearing some buildings apart in Panama City Beach. One beachfront structure under construction could be seen collapsing, and metal roofing material flew sideways across parking lots amid sheets of rain.

The Category 4 storm is expected to smash the state with catastrophic surges of sea water and roof-shredding winds in what could be the worst hurricane ever recorded in the region.

Authorities told residents along the affected areas of Florida’s Gulf of Mexico coast on Wednesday morning that they had run out of time to evacuate and should hunker down. More than 375,000 people had been urged or ordered to evacuate in the hours leading up to the hurricane making landfall.

Michael is set to bring destructive winds, up to a foot of rain and a life-threatening storm surge of up to 14 feet. No Category 4 hurricane has ever hit the Panhandle, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Gaining frightening fury overnight, the hurricane’s leading edge began lashing the shoreline hours before Michael’s center was expected to blow ashore.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said the hurricane will bring ‘unimaginable devastation’ and warned people in its path that it was now too late to evacuate, adding that he was ‘scared to death’ that some had ignored orders.

‘Hurricane Michael is forecast to be the most destructive hurricane to hit the Florida Panhandle in a century,’ Scott said.

‘The time for evacuating along the coast has come and gone. First responders will not be able to come out in the middle of the storm. If you chose to stay in an evacuation zone, you must SEEK REFUGE IMMEDIATELY.

The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, echoed the governor’s warning to coastal residents that there might be no time left to evacuate.

‘Unfortunately, this is a hurricane of the worst kind – a rapidly intensifying storm, which gives people very little time to prepare. It also gives them a shorter window to evacuate.’

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told CNN it would be a ‘killer hurricane’ and warned anyone in the path of the storm surge: ‘You’re going to die’.

Residents and tourists were told to flee low-lying areas in at least 22 counties along the shore in Florida’s Panhandle and adjacent Big Bend region.

Meteorologists said it had the potential to become one of the worst storms in the history of the region.

‘I guess it’s the worst-case scenario. I don’t think anyone would have experienced this in the Panhandle,’ meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said. ‘This is going to have structure-damaging winds along the coast and hurricane force winds inland.’

It comes as 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. The sinister-looking red and gray skull appeared briefly on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration infrared satellite images.

The University of Georgia’s Marshall Shepherd, a former president of the American Meteorological Society, called it a ‘life-altering event’ on Facebook and said he watched the storm’s growth on satellite images with growing alarm.

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