Dramatic videos show what happened as Hurricane Michael made landfall

Probabilities of hurricane-force wind speeds

Probabilities of hurricane-force wind

Hurricane Michael just made landfall along the Florida panhandle and it's packing much more of a punch than most assumed it would when warnings about its arrival began to spread about a week ago.

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.

"The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no category four hurricane ever hitting the Florida panhandle".

It has now weakened to a tropical storm over south-central Georgia.

A spokesperson for the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office said the man was in his mid-40s and had been at home with his wife, who authorities are now trying to reach.

Hundreds of thousands of electricity customers were without power as of 6 p.m. ET Wednesday evening. According to the US Energy Information Administration.

Hurricane-force winds extended up to 45 miles (72 kilometers) from Michael's center at the height of the storm.

Measured by barometric pressure, Michael ranks as the third-most-intense storm on record to make landfall in the US, according to the National Weather Service. Governor Rick Scott said there was a "lot of roof damage" in the storm's path.

There were scenes of devastation in Mexico Beach, a community of about 1,000 people where Michael made landfall around 1pm Eastern time - with houses floating in flooded streets, some ripped from their foundations and missing roofs.

The St. Marks River overflows into the city of St. Marks, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

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

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said on Tuesday an estimated 500,000 Florida residents had been ordered or urged to seek higher ground before the storm in 20 counties spanning a 200-mile (320-km) stretch of shoreline.

In Port St. Joe, two storm chasers had to abandon their vehicle and find shelter as over 100 miles per hour wind gusts and heavy rain made it impossible for them to drive.

FEMA head Brock Long acknowledged that early evacuation efforts in the area were slow in comparison to how quickly the hurricane intensified.

The Category 4 hurricane was expected to make landfall near Panama City, Florida on Wednesday afternoon.

Hurricane Michael also stands out because of its late arrival.

Myrtle Beach, which is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Florence, is predicted to experience 46 miles per hour winds - the most powerful gusts in the Palmetto State. A pine tree punched a hole in their roof and his ears even popped when the barometric pressure went lower.

Warm water is like jet fuel for hurricanes, and a combination of balmy conditions in the Gulf of Mexico, a lack of disturbance from wind shear and rapid intensification near the coast turned Michael into a historic storm, according to hurricane experts.

There has been only one storm with higher sustained wind speeds this far north in the Gulf of Mexico: Hurricane Camille in 1969.

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