Historic Hurricane Michael hits Florida — WHAT'S HAPPENING

Cornell Silveira of Keaton Beach Fla. leaves with some of his belongings as he evacuates his home as Hurricane Michael approaches the area Wednesday Oct. 10 2018. Hurricane Michael continues to churn in the Gulf of Mexico heading for the Florida panh

What does Hurricane Michael have in store for the Carolinas?

Olivia Smith, public information officer for the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners, said there was "one hurricane-related fatality", adding that the incident was "debris-related".

Shredded trees, derailed train cars and a sunken trailer are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

Measured by barometric pressure, Michael ranks as the third-most-intense storm on record to make landfall in the USA, according to the National Weather Service.

The hurricane reached wind speeds of over 150 miles per hour when it made landfall between Tyndall Air Force Base and Mexico Beach, just south of Panama City, according to NASA. While eyes in space watch the unsafe storm from above, cameras on the ground are tracking the hurricane's impending landfall for live internet viewing. Georgia is expected to be hit by damaging winds and downed power lines.

"The National Hurricane Center is expecting storm surge to be between nine and 2.7-3.6 meters".

Images captured by Associated Press journalists show how Florida residents took shelter while waters were rising ahead of Michael's landfall. Once that happens, wind speeds increase.

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.

Moving north-northeast at 16 miles per hour, the center of Michael, with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, reached southeastern Alabama and southwest Georgia by 5 p.m.

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

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 2016, Hurricane Matthew, which caused the deaths of almost 600 people in Haiti, quickly grew to a Category 5 storm with sustained winds up 165 miles an hour because of rapid intensification.

"It really started as a tropical storm, and then it went to Category 1, then it was Category 2 and before you know it, it was Category 4", O'Shaughnessy said.

As the Tallahassee office of the National Weather Service said on Twitter earlier Wednesday: "If you're not sheltered in place now, you need to be!"

Michael is moving north at 13 mph, now 90 miles southwest of Panama City.

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.

Scott spoke Wednesday morning with Trump, who signed a pre-landfall emergency declaration Tuesday ensuring that federal resources would be available before and after the storm in the 35 counties where the governor declared a state of emergency.

Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather, such as storms, droughts, floods and fires.

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