AT LEAST two people are dead – including one child – after record-breaking Hurricane Michael slammed into Florida with devastating 155mph winds.

A man was crushed to death by a falling tree and a tot killed in Georgia after being struck by debris during the “hell” storm.

 The hell storm has left hundreds of families across the Florida Panhandle homeless

Getty Images – Getty

The hell storm has left hundreds of families across the Florida Panhandle homeless

Michael caused a 14ft high storm surge which has submerged homes. It has now been degraded to a tropical storm – but not before tearing through homes and ripping roofs off buildings.

National Hurricane Center meteorologist Dennis Feltgen said: “We are in new territory. The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no Category 4 hurricane ever hitting the Florida panhandle.”

Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, a tourist town along the Panhandle, a 200-mile stretch of white-sand beach resorts, fishing towns and military bases.

The hurricane swamped streets, snapped trees like twigs and sent building debris flying across the beachfront.

 Megan Williams, left, and roommate Kaylee O'Brian rescue belongings from their destroyed home

AP:Associated Press

Megan Williams, left, and roommate Kaylee O’Brian rescue belongings from their destroyed home
 Damaged boats and cars are seen in a marina after Hurricane Michael struck

AFP

Damaged boats and cars are seen in a marina after Hurricane Michael struck
 Michael was the most powerful storm to hit the southern US state in more than a century

AFP or licensors

Michael was the most powerful storm to hit the southern US state in more than a century
 Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 mph

AP:Associated Press

Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 mph
 The 'catastrophic' Hurricane Michael has submerged entire homes in water after making landfall in Florida
The ‘catastrophic’ Hurricane Michael has submerged entire homes in water after making landfall in Florida


Hurricane Michael what we know:

  • The ‘hell’ storm slammed into Florida with devastating 155mph winds
  • Two people were killed including a young girl hit with flying debris
  • Nearly 500,000 homes are now without power in the region
  • It caused a 14ft high storm surge which has submerged homes
  • 320,000 people disregarded mandatory or voluntary evacuation notices
  • It has now been degraded to a tropical storm after mauling Florida

 Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc after making landfall in Florida last night

AP:Associated Press

Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc after making landfall in Florida last night
 A man sifts through a flooded street after the arrival of the storm in Panama City

EPA

A man sifts through a flooded street after the arrival of the storm in Panama City
 A man takes some cigarettes from a cabinet at a destroyed corner store

Getty Images – Getty

A man takes some cigarettes from a cabinet at a destroyed corner store
 Rick Teska (L) helps a business owner rescue his dogs from his store

Getty Images – Getty

Rick Teska (L) helps a business owner rescue his dogs from his store

Officials said nearly 500,000 homes were without power across Alabama, Georgia and Florida as a result of the hurricane.

Local officials have since revealed a Florida Panhandle man was killed by a falling tree as Michael tore through the state.

Timothy Thomas, from Panama City Beach, Florida, told reporters “we are catching some hell” as he rode out the storm at home with his wife.

The tree crashed through the roof of his Greenboro home and trapped him inside, according to the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office.

 A resident of St. Marks rescues a cooler out of the floodwaters near his home

AP:Associated Press

A resident of St. Marks rescues a cooler out of the floodwaters near his home
 A storm chaser climbs into his vehicle during the eye of Hurricane Michael to gather his belongings

AP:Associated Press

A storm chaser climbs into his vehicle during the eye of Hurricane Michael to gather his belongings
 The Cooter Stew Cafe starts taking water in the town of Saint Marks after Michael pushed the storm surge inland

Getty Images – Getty

The Cooter Stew Cafe starts taking water in the town of Saint Marks after Michael pushed the storm surge inland

Emergency crews were heading to the home, but downed power lines and blocked roads were making the trip difficult.

Officials have yet to reveal the man’s name or whether anyone else has been hurt or killed in the storm.

“The window to evacuate has come to a close,” said Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long.

It began unexpectedly from a weekend tropical depression, becoming a furious Category 4 by early Wednesday, up from a Category 2 less than a day earlier.

The storm came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane before it was downgraded to Category 3. By 8pm it was down to a Category 1.

 Mike Lindsey stands in his antique shop after the winds from hurricane Michael broke the windows

Getty Images – Getty

Mike Lindsey stands in his antique shop after the winds from hurricane Michael broke the windows
 Trees lay on the top of a home after hurricane Michael passed through the area

Getty Images – Getty

Trees lay on the top of a home after hurricane Michael passed through the area
 Palm trees are battered by high winds in Panama City, Florida

Reuters

Palm trees are battered by high winds in Panama City, Florida
 Bo Lynn's Market starts taking water in the town of Saint Marks

Getty Images – Getty

Bo Lynn’s Market starts taking water in the town of Saint Marks

Donald Trump tweeted: “Florida Highway Patrol Troopers are all en route to the Panhandle, from all across the state of Florida – to help those affected.”

He included a video of cop cars rushing to the scenes of devastation.

The storm has the potential to drive sea water levels as high as 14ft above normal in some areas, the National Hurricane Center said.

Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross said as many as 320,000 people on Florida’s Gulf Coast had disregarded mandatory or voluntary evacuation notices.

 The devastating storm has already destroyed a half-finished building and torn the roofs off many more
The devastating storm has already destroyed a half-finished building and torn the roofs off many more
 This NASA photo shows they eye of Hurricane Michael as seen from the International Space Station

AP:Associated Press

This NASA photo shows they eye of Hurricane Michael as seen from the International Space Station
 Waves take over a house as Hurricane Michael comes ashore in Alligator Point, Florida

Reuters

Waves take over a house as Hurricane Michael comes ashore in Alligator Point, Florida
 Hotel employees inspect a canopy which collapsed as Hurricane Michael passed through Panama City Beach, Florida

AP:Associated Press

Hotel employees inspect a canopy which collapsed as Hurricane Michael passed through Panama City Beach, Florida
 Hurricane Michael is barrelling towards Florida and could send 150 mph winds across the US panhandle

AP:Associated Press

Hurricane Michael is barrelling towards Florida and could send 150 mph winds across the US panhandle

An estimated 6,000 evacuees took cover in emergency shelters, most of them in Florida, and that number was expected to rise to 20,000 across five states by week’s end.

Reuters news agency reported that Michael is the third most powerful storm ever to make landfall in the mainland US. And experts said it is the biggest on record to strike by Florida Panhandle.

News footage showed floodwaters up to the roofs of many homes in Mexico Beach. The fate of about 280 residents who authorities said defied evacuation orders was unknown.

It struck hours after Florida governor Rick Scott warned locals it was “too late” to flee and he was “scared to death” people had ignored evacuation orders.

Hurricane Michael seen in new satellite video as storm made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida
 Boats that were docked are seen in a pile of rubble after Hurricane Michael passed through

Getty Images – Getty

Boats that were docked are seen in a pile of rubble after Hurricane Michael passed through
 The 155mph winds ripped open a condo building in Florida

Getty Images – Getty

The 155mph winds ripped open a condo building in Florida
 Mike Hays walks past local stores torn apart by Hurricane Michael

Getty Images – Getty

Mike Hays walks past local stores torn apart by Hurricane Michael
 Waves are beginning to crash against a seawall in Eastpoint, Florida

Getty Images – Getty

Waves are beginning to crash against a seawall in Eastpoint, Florida

He said he hoped no one kept children with them as they chose to ride it out, but the time to evacuate the “target zone” had “come and gone”.

“This is the worst storm that our Florida Panhandle has seen in a century,” said Governor Scott. “Hurricane Michael is upon us, and now is the time to seek refuge.”

“If you chose not to evacuate … you’re not going to be able to get out. This thing is coming now. It’s too late to get on the road,” he told CNN.

Hurricane Michael: Weatherman films moment new construction collapses on Panama City Beach
 A McDonald's sign damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Panama City Beach

Reuters

A McDonald’s sign damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Panama City Beach
 A tree lays on a home and car after the storm battered Panama City, Florida

Getty Images – Getty

A tree lays on a home and car after the storm battered Panama City, Florida

Scott revealed communities across the Florida panhandle will see “unimaginable devastation,” adding roof-shredding winds could easily top 150 mph.

Horror storm surges are also predicted leading to terrifying 31 ft high waves and devastating flash flooding. 

About 3.8 million people are under hurricane warnings in Florida’s Panhandle and Big Bend regions, along with parts of southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia.

Tropical storm warnings cover 15.9 million people in several states.

 The terrifying winds tore apart homes and businessses

EPA

The terrifying winds tore apart homes and businessses
 Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm

EPA

Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm
 A local inspects the wreckage of a collapsed boat housing station

EPA

A local inspects the wreckage of a collapsed boat housing station
 Downed powerlines are seen after hurricane Michael passed through the downtown area

Getty Images – Getty

Downed powerlines are seen after hurricane Michael passed through the downtown area

The National Hurricane Centre described the hurricane – which has wind gusts near its centre topping 165 mph  – as “extremely dangerous.”

One meteorologist described the weather front as a monster as an apparition of a skull was spotted at the heart of Hurricane Michael in satellite images.

Only three major hurricanes Category 3 or higher have struck the Panhandle since 1950: Eloise in 1975, Opal in 1995 and Dennis in 2005.

Terrifying SKULL shape appears in Hurricane Michael satellite map as it heads towards Florida
 Wrecked boats sit near a pier near Panama City Beach

EPA

Wrecked boats sit near a pier near Panama City Beach
 An American flag flies in the in the rose coloured light of sunset at Shell Point Beach

Getty Images – Getty

An American flag flies in the in the rose coloured light of sunset at Shell Point Beach
 Betty Early, 75, reclines in a school hallway being used as a shelter from Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida

Reuters

Betty Early, 75, reclines in a school hallway being used as a shelter from Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida

The area is a 200-mile stretch Florida lying between Alabama on the north west, Georgia on the north east and the Gulf of Mexico to the south

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee, Florida, warned: “A potentially catastrophic event is developing. Locations may be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Brock Long says his agency is working “hand-in-hand” Governor Scott.

He praised Florida’s use on Tuesday evening of the wireless emergency alert system to let residents know that the storm was getting stronger.

As for those who ignored evacuation orders, Long said people “who stick around and experience storm surge unfortunately don’t usually live to tell about it”.

Marco Rubio, a Republican Senator from Florida, said: “Every storm’s different, but this storm is a monstrosity.”


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