Tues. 5:25 pm: Fast-moving Hurricane Michael menaces Florida Panhandle

A satellite image shows Hurricane Michael in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday

A satellite image shows Hurricane Michael in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday

"Michael" became the first hurricane of the 4th category, coming ashore in Panhandle (FL).

Pictures and video from Mexico Beach, a community of about 1,000 people where Michael made landfall around 1:00 pm Eastern time, showed scenes of devastation, with houses floating in flooded streets, some ripped from their foundations and missing roofs. "We have trees being uprooted, heavy, heavy rain". But forecasters said winds and outer rain bands of a storm that was strengthening and becoming better organized by the hour would begin lashing the coast well ahead of the eye making landfall.

He said the storm would still have hurricane-force winds as it pushed through Florida into Georgia and tropical storm-force winds when it reaches the Carolinas, which are still reeling from post-Florence flooding.

Scott had phone calls scheduled with President Donald Trump, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and FEMA administrator Brock Long, and said the federal government is "committed" to sending as much assistance as the state requires. The Florida health department had 80 ambulance strike teams and 400 ambulances ready, and the state is giving out two million meals and one million gallons of drinking water.

SCOTT: That means the water will come miles inshore and could easily rise over the roofs of houses.

Smith, in Gadsden County, said the situation was risky even for emergency personnel.

When it comes to hurricanes, climate scientists have said that the effects on storms are already being seen in heavier rainfall, as a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture.

In Apalachicola about 35 miles to the southeast and just inside the perimeter for hurricane winds, a tidal gauge recorded water at 8.55 feet before 7 p.m. Wednesday.

General Terrence O Shaughnessy, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command, said some Florida residents may have been surprised by the rapid growth of the storm. "And then once you seen that, then everything just went black".

Despite the warnings, local officials believe a far smaller number of people have in fact moved away. The hurricane made landfall on the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm.

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Marks on the walls showed flood waters reached up to a height of at least a metre (three feet). One of the male victims could not yet be identified but is also believed to be a foreigner.

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The IMF has also warned the new government that growth would likely slow and inflation rise further if it does not act fast. He on various occasion said that no option to rescue Pakistani economy could not be ruled out.

Michael is now centered over SC and is still a tropical storm after a long land journey over the southeastern United States.

Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the US mainland, behind the unnamed Labor Day storm of 1935 and Camille in 1969.

Damage in Panama City was extensive, with broken and uprooted trees and power lines down almost everywhere.

More than 180,000 people of those leaving were under mandatory evacuation orders, the long lines of cars jamming routes out Tuesday.

Peaton says he is working closely with the National Weather Service to provide accurate information and protective measures to his county, which faces the Gulf of Mexico and is especially vulnerable to any flooding produced by Michael.

Asked why her family didn't leave, she said she thought they were safe on the fourth floor of a concrete building.

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

Seminole County is "pitch black", in "complete and total devastation", Travis Brooks, director of Seminole County's Emergency Management Agency told ABC News.

Tyndall Air Force Base took a "direct hit" from Michael's Category 4 hurricane winds of up to 155 miles per hour, which caused significant structural damage and left the runway's use still in question, Air Force officials said in a statement. The U.S. Coast Guard ran 10 rescue missions into the region Wednesday night.

Past year saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Harvey, which caused a record-equaling $125 billion in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area. The storm is expected to make landfall by early afternoon.

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