Florida, Oct 11: As powerhouse Michael, a Category 4 hurricane, smashed into the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, the supercharged storm had maximum sustained winds of 155 mph at landfall - just two miles shy of a Category 5, the fiercest on the scale.
Michael- 'potentially catastrophic'
he storm made landfall on the Florida Panhandle Wednesday afternoon as one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the U.S. The terrifying Category 4 hurricane was packing maximum sustained winds of 155 mph when it crashed ashore near Mexico Beach, a lightly populated tourist town about midway along the Panhandle.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) described Michael as "potentially catastrophic." Debris was strewn across miles of Florida's coastline: Roofs and awnings peeled back from buildings, pieces of homes scattered amid snapped trees and downed power lines, chunks of beaches washed away.
As Hurricane Michael turns deadly, storm moves over Georgia
Michael was about 20 miles southwest of Albany, Georgia, with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, according to the NHC. Forecasters said Michael has become a Category 1 storm as it moves across land.Nearly 30 million people in the Southeast were in its crosshairs. Strong winds and rains will thrash Georgia and North and South Carolina, including areas that got a drenching last month from Hurricane Florence.
Shelter houses hundreds of people
As Hurricane Michael battered the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, officials scrambled to open evacuation centers in three states. As the strong winds and driving rains passed through the region, and officials urged residents to remain cautious. Florida has opened up 38 emergency shelters in anticipation of what could be a devastating Hurricane Michael.