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.