Michael Makes Landfall and History

SHELL POINT BEACH, FL - OCTOBER 10: The storm surge from Hurricane Michael pushes into the homes four hours prior to high tide on October 10, 2018 in the Florida Panhandle community of Shell Point Beach, Florida. The hurricane is forecast to hit the Florida Panhandle at a possible category 4 storm. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images) (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

As Hurricane Michael slammed ashore yesterday, he did so in historic fashion. Not only did his Category 4 arrival mark the strongest-ever to make landfall on the Florida Panhandle, he was the third strongest in America’s history – and the worst hurricane to make landfall since 1969.

As the sun rises today, two people have been confirmed dead and more than 600-thousand people are without power across Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. And while Michael has been downgraded to a tropical storm, tornado warnings popped up overnight in South Carolina and several twisters reportedly touched down in Georgia. And the damage? It’s extensive to say the least.

Michael Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, calls Michael a “history-making, very devastating storm and one that we’re never going to forget.” That couldn’t be more true than for the Floridians in Mexico Beach, Panama City and Apalachicola – where early reports offer confirmation of whole communities just gone. As ABC’s Ginger Zee witnessed, one home was simply blown off it’s foundation…and rolled down the street. Imagine that on a larger scale. Officials are asking those who remain to shelter in place until further notice.

  • Tyndall Air Force Base, which is near Panama City, apparently took a direct hit from Michael. Base officials describe the damage as “significant,” but considering they evacuated most personnel…no loss of life has been reported.
  • FAST FACT: The last Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the United States in October was Hurricane Hazel, which slammed the Carolinas in 1954. Michael is also the first major hurricane to track into the state of Georgia or make landfall there since the “Georgia Hurricane of 1898.”
SHELL POINT BEACH, FL – OCTOBER 10: The storm surge and waves from Hurricane Michael batter the beachfront homes on October 10, 2018 in the Florida Panhandle community of Shell Point Beach, Florida. The hurricane is forecast to hit the Florida Panhandle at a possible category 4 storm. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
SAINT MARKS, FL – OCTOBER 10: The Cooter Stew Cafe starts taking water in the town of Saint Marks as Hurricane Michael pushes the storm surge up the Wakulla and Saint Marks Rivers which come together here on October 10, 2018 in Saint Marks, Florida. The hurricane is forecast to hit the Florida Panhandle at a possible category 4 storm. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
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