Hurricane Michael hit the Florida panhandle Wednesday as a Category 4 story, shocking even veteran storm-watchers with its destructive force.
Images and video from the ground show uprooted trees, collapsed houses and even a lamp post snapped at its base.
A vehicle sits partially submerged in floodwaters after Hurricane Michael hit in Panama City, Florida, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.
Storm damage is seen after Hurricane Michael October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida.
The storm moved fast and many people didn’t have time to evacuate as the the tropical depression formed over the weekend and strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane on Tuesday. It morphed into a fierce Category 4 by the time it came ashore near Mexico Beach, Florida on Wednesday afternoon with wind speeds of 250 km/h. Just shy of a Category 5 storm, Michael was the most powerful hurricane on record to hit Florida’s Panhandle.
Take a look at all that lightning! This loop from the #GOESEast Lightning Mapper shows #HurricaneMichael’s approach from noon on Oct. 8 until the storm made landfall over Mexico Beach, Florida, on Wednesday afternoon. More imagery: https://t.co/eSQdQ5ZITr pic.twitter.com/4FN2aAwPSL
— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) October 10, 2018
12 noon. 960 mb and nosediving. Callaway. #Hurricane #MICHAEL #HurricaneMan pic.twitter.com/V7jO9jpIFu
— Josh Morgerman (@iCyclone) October 10, 2018
Based on barometric pressure, Michael was also the third most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland, behind the Labor Day storm of 1935 and Hurricane Camille in 1969.
Josh Morgerman, a well-known storm chaser, tweeted, “It’s hard to convey in words the scale of the catastrophe in Panama City. The whole city looks like a nuke was dropped on it. I’m literally shocked at the scale of the destruction.”
Though the storm has weakened, it is continuing on a dangerous path across the southeast states. The National Hurricane Centre warned of possible spinoff tornadoes and heavy rains in Alabama and Georgia, before the storm heads for South Carolina, already soaked by Hurricane Florence in September.
Mcdonald’s signage stands damaged from Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach, Florida, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.
Haley Nelson inspects damages to her family properties in the Panama City, Fla., spring field area after Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida’s Panhandle on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.
The hurricane hit the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm.
People look on at a damaged store after Hurricane Michael passed through on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida.
Storm damage is seen after Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida on October 10, 2018. –
With files from the Associated Press and Washington Post.