Man dies after tree hits home in Hurricane Michael

Hotel employees look at a canopy that just collapsed as Hurricane Michael passes through in Panama City Beach Fla. Wednesday Oct. 10 2018

Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 miles per hour Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods before continuing its destructive charge inland across the Southeast. In the D.C. area, its effects are a couple days off and should be limited. The storm hit roared ashore along the Florida Panhandle, between Tyndall Air Force Base and Mexico Beach, according to NASA.

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.

Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle Wednesday as the most powerful storm to strike the US mainland in 50 years.

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.

Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama issued a state-wide state of emergency on Monday "in anticipation of wide-spread power outages, wind damage, and debris produced by high winds and heavy rain associated with Hurricane Michael". Forecasters said it will unleash damaging wind and rain all the way into the Carolinas, still recovering from Hurricane Florence's epic flooding.

Meteorologists watched satellite imagery in complete awe as the storm intensified, with experts saying it is the worst ever recorded in the region.

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

"We're going to see a lot of wind damage", Long said, and some residents could expect not to have power restored for weeks.

The National Hurricane Center predicts Michael will stay a powerful and risky rainmaker as it moves across the U.S. Southeast and off the Mid-Atlantic coast before heading out to sea by Friday.

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Hours earlier, it made landfall in Florida as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States in almost 50 years and the third-strongest ever. Only Hurricane Camille on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969 and the so-called Labor Day hurricane of 1935 in the Florida Keys were more intense.

"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. We thought the windows were going to break at any time. But without extensive study, they can not directly link a single weather event to the changing climate.

As winds started to topple trees in Tallahassee, one of them landed on Joe Marino's chimney. Lower central pressure indicates a stronger storm.

Before the sun went down and the skies turned midnight blue, those in the path of Hurricane Michael shared glimpses of what some say is the worst hurricane damage they've seen.

Only a skeleton staff remains at the home of the 325th Fighter Wing after the base's aircraft, which include F-11 Raptors, were flown hundreds of kilometres away as a precaution.

In St. Marks, John Hargan and his family gathered up their pets and moved to a raised building constructed to withstand a Category 5 after water from the St. Marks River began surrounding their home.

Her biggest worry: finding her missing one-year-old Siamese cat, Molly.

"I can not disappoint the thousands of people that are there - and the thousands that are going", he tweeted.

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