Live updates: Michael kills 6, leaves trail of devastation in Florida as it spins across the Southeast
Michael made landfall along the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday afternoon and is pushing inland across the southeastern United States.
Mexico Beach, Florida, was hit with severe damage where the powerful, unprecedented storm made landfall. Wind gusts over 100 mph were common across during the height of the storm.
"A Category 4 hurricane has never struck that part of Florida," said AccuWeather Vice President of Forecasting and Graphics Operations Marshall Moss. "The coastline will be changed for decades."
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More than 1 million were without power across the region as of Thursday afternoon, and officials warn that some areas could be without power for days.
The National Hurricane Center said the storm is a "worst-case scenario" for the region. Michael is the first Category 4 hurricane to hit the area.
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5:37 p.m. EDT Thursday:
A tornado has been confirmed by radar near Amelia Court House, Virginia and is tracking northwestward. This is a dangerous tornado as it will be difficult to spot due to heavy rain in the area.
The threat of tornadoes will continue across the area into Thursday night as Michael spins over the region.
3:55 p.m. EDT Thursday:
The death toll from Hurricane Michael rises to six after a new death was reported in North Carolina.
A man was killed Thursday when a large tree fell on his vehicle on Highway 64, east of Statesville, North Carolina, FOX 46 reported.
In Florida, four people were killed in Gadsden County as a result of the hurricane, the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office reported in a tweet.
A child in Lake Seminole, Georgia, reportedly died Wednesday when a tree fell into a house.
3:15 p.m. EDT Thursday:
A flash flood emergency is in effect around Roanoke, Virginia, as heavy rain from Michael roads the region. Numerous roads around Roanoke are impassable due to flood waters with officials telling residents to avoid travel.
A reminder that a *FLASH FLOOD EMERGENCY* is in effect for Roanoke County until 845. This is a particularly serious flood situation unfolding in Roanoke County -> https://t.co/KurQAgWxnv— NWS Blacksburg (@NWSBlacksburg) October 11, 2018
1:24 p.m. EDT Thursday:
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of impacts from Tropical Storm Michael. There are several reports of flooding in the Roanoke area.
"As Tropical Storm Michael turns to the Commonwealth, I want to urge all Virginians to prepare for the serious possibility of flash floods, tropical-storm-force winds, tornadoes and power outages," said Northam.
“I am declaring a state of emergency in order to provide state assets to Virginians and to assist our neighbors in states who are dealing with the devastating effects of this historic storm. My thoughts are with all those along with the Gulf Coast, and my administration will continue our outreach to governors and state agencies where Hurricane Michael has produced widespread damage.”
12:34 p.m. EDT Thursday:
President Trump has declared a major disaster for Hurricane Michael in Florida, according to Gov. Rick Scott.
Following my request, @POTUS has declared a major disaster for Hurricane Michael. I will continue to stay in contact with all of our federal, state and local partners as we respond to this devastating storm. This will allow more federal help to flow to our communities.— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) October 11, 2018
The governor said he is on his way to conduct an aerial tour of the hardest-hit areas in the panhandle region.
Nearly 400,000 customers remain without power in the state.
According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Coast Guard has rescued 27 people from damaged homes along the state's coast.
.@USCG crew members from Air Station Clearwater conducted an aerial assessment of coastal areas affected by #HurricaneMichael near Apalachicola today.— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) October 11, 2018
For more information and to download high resolution images, click here > https://t.co/TEtxFKAc2N pic.twitter.com/4o50mYn2RJ
10:45 a.m. EDT Thursday:
In a press conference, North Carolina emergency officials said that multiple water rescues have occurred in at least two counties (Henderson and McDowell).
Eleven shelters were still open in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, and additional shelters have opened for Michael.
Governor Roy Cooper encouraged people to stay alert, especially those who have had flash flooding before.
"We know we're going to experience more flooding," he said.
10:20 a.m. EDT Thursday:
AccuWeather's Jonathan Petramala is reporting from Mexico Beach, Florida, where Michael made landfall.
Damage is widespread and extreme:
Bay County officials, home to Panama City Beach, said that roads are impassible and everyone should remain in place.
"People on the roadway pose a significant impediment to our first responders' ability to clear the roads. Please, stay put and standby," they wrote on Facebook.
9:45 a.m. EDT Thursday:
Federal Emergency and Management Agency (FEMA) officials said in a press conference on Thursday morning that hundreds of medical personnel have been activated across the affected regions to provide search and rescue and other life-saving measures.
Approximately 7,800 people cross Florida, Georgia and Alabama were in shelters on Wednesday night.
Several medical facilities sustained damage near the landfall area, FEMA said.
It could be "multiple weeks" in some areas to get power fully restored.
7:35 a.m. EDT Thursday:
More than 66,000 are without power in South Carolina, emergency management reports. Wind gusts up to 60 mph are possible in some areas.
Hundreds of thousands are still without power in Florida and Georgia.
Winds are starting to whip the Carolinas as Michael makes its way up the coast.
5:45 a.m. EDT Thursday:
Strong winds and rounds of drenching rain battered Georgia overnight and have started to spread over South Carolina. Wind gusts reached 40-60 mph across Georgia overnight, and similar gusts are expected across the Carolinas over the next 24 hours.
Areas along the coast can expect strong onshore winds today. At Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, wind gusts are already exceeding 35 mph.
Emergency managers in counties throughout southwestern and central Georgia have been responding to reports of roads and homes being impacted by felled trees throughout the night.
Anyone living or working in areas previously impacted by Florence will need to be especially vigilant, as the saturated ground will make it easier for trees and power lines to fall.
More than 3,000 workers from utilities all over the country are here in Northwest Florida. Workers from Volt were out restoring power as soon as weather conditions allowed from #HurricaneMichael. Hurricane Michael hit Northwest Florida today with wind speeds near 150 mph. pic.twitter.com/2Wsh3xvRbM— Gulf Power (@GulfPower) October 11, 2018
Once the rain and wind die down, travel is discouraged until local authorities can clear roadways and ensure all utilities, such as water and gas, are operating safely.
2:06 a.m. EDT Thursday:
A second fatality has been attributed to Michael. A child in Lake Seminole, Georgia, reportedly died when a tree fell into a house, according to ABC News.
Lake Seminole is located in far southwestern Georgia. Winds gusted to 71 mph in nearby Tallahassee earlier on Wednesday.
Over 600,000 customers are without power across Florida and Georgia due to the continuing impacts of Matthew, with an increasing percentage of these occurring across central Georgia.
The tornado watch previously in effect in southeastern Georgia, including Savannah, has expired. Conditions across far eastern Georgia and the entirety of South Carolina will remain favorable for tornado formation through the early morning.
12:10 a.m. EDT Thursday:
Michael is now a tropical storm, packing sustained winds as high as 70 mph even as it moves into central Georgia.
Winds have gusted to 40 mph in areas as far north as Atlanta, despite being nearly 90 miles away from the center of the storm.
11:40 p.m. EDT Wednesday:
A new tornado watch has been issued for much of South Carolina and will remain in effect until 7 a.m. EDT Thursday.
Several tornado-warned thunderstorms have tracked over part of South Carolina over the past two hours with more likely though the overnight hours.
People across the area should make sure to have weather alerts enabled on their cell phones to alert them if a tornado is approaching.
A tornado watch has been issued for parts of Georgia and South Carolina until 7 AM EDT pic.twitter.com/5EB0N3lSgc— NWS Wilmington NC (@NWSWilmingtonNC) October 11, 2018
10:45 p.m. EDT Wednesday:
The city of Tallahassee reported that more than 200 roads are impassable due to downed trees. Some roads may also be blocked by downed power lines.
Although conditions are improving as the center of Michael moves northeastward, people should avoid travel until roads are cleared.
10:10 p.m. EDT Wednesday:
Over 525,000 electric customers are without power across the southeastern U.S., with a majority of the outages being located in the Florida Panhandle.
"In the hardest-hit areas, the possibility exists that we will be rebuilding our system while we are restoring power," said Gulf Power spokesperson Jeff Powers. "Customers in the high impact areas could be without power for weeks."
8:48 p.m. EDT Wednesday:
As officials assess the damage, photos and video are starting to surface of the extreme damage in the Panama City Beach, Florida, area.
Box cars were overturned, roofs were ripped off and trees have been snapped in half.
7:45 p.m. EDT Wednesday:
Roads in coastal communities in the Florida Panhandle are not clear, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott is telling residents who evacuated not to attempt to come back yet.
Some counties are under a curfew because of Hurricane Michael:
Franklin County: A curfew extends from sunrise to sunset, according to the office of emergency management.
Bay County: Residents must shelter in place, according to Bay County Emergency Management.
Laurens County: The county has issued a curfew from midnight EDT Wednesday to noon EDT Thursday.
Walton County: A curfew is in effect for all areas south of the Choctawhatchee Bay, according to Walton County Emergency Management.
Gulf County: Residents are under a curfew from now until further notice, according to the Gulf County Emergency Management website.
More counties with current curfews are listed here.
If you live in impacted coastal communities, DO NOT TRY TO COME HOME TONIGHT. The roads are not clear.— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) October 10, 2018
7:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday:
There are more than 420,000 power outages reported from Hurricane Michael. Duke Energy Florida alone projects 100,000 to 200,000 power outages in the panhandle.
The number of outages is expected to grow. Click here to check current power outages.
7:10 p.m. EDT Wednesday:
One fatality has been reported in the Florida Panhandle after a tree fell on a home, killing a man inside. This is the first storm-related death.
Michael is now a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph. Michael will continue to weaken into Wednesday night as it tracks farther inland. However, it will continue to produce dangerous winds and flooding downpours.
6:20 p.m. CDT Wednesday:
Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida, reported that they took a direct hit from Hurricane Michael with extensive damage.
Destructive winds brought down trees and power lines and removed roofs from buildings at the base. No injuries have been reported.
Michael is now a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph. The center of the storm is now over Georgia and has become the first Category 3 hurricane to track over the state.
For previous reports on Hurricane Michael, click here.
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