Friday, 19 October, 2018

Hurricane Michael grows stronger on way to Florida

Heavy surf from Hurricane Michael pounds the fishing pier on Okaloosa Island in Florida Heavy surf from Hurricane Michael pounds the fishing pier on Okaloosa Island in Florida
Elijah Vega | 11 October, 2018, 20:52

"I didn't expect all this", said Bill Manning, 63, a grocery clerk who left his camper van in Panama City, Florida, to move into a hotel where the power was already out, Reuters reported.

Research by Francis of Rutgers suggests that warming in the Arctic could be weakening the jet stream in ways that, in the summer, can deprive weather systems like hurricanes of the atmospheric push that keeps them moving; those factors, she said, may have been at play in the unusual pokiness of Harvey and Florence.

Michael roared down on the Florida Panhandle as a fast-strengthening major hurricane, gaining so much in unexpected fury that forecasters predicted it would become a Category 4 monster before it crashes later Wednesday against the region's white-sand beaches, fishing villages and coastal communities.

Desolate concrete slabs where houses once stood. Boats were tossed ashore like toys.

The extent of the damage was becoming clear on Thursday as AFP reporters and photographers toured affected areas and U.S. television networks flew helicopters along the coast.

Similar issues were arising at nursing homes, and crews were flying in supplies to Florida State Hospital at Chattahoochee, which serves patients with mental illness. "You've selected your clothes to fit you now", he said, just as we are adapted to the present state of the global climate system.

"The roof fell in but we lived through it", he said.

The agency is working with the Florida Department of Transportation to clear the interstate which is the major east-west route across northern Florida and the Panhandle.

Some of the worst damage was in Mexico Beach, where Michael crashed ashore Wednesday as a Category 4 monster with 155 miles per hour (250 kph) winds and a storm surge of 9 feet (2.7 meters).

A reporter and photojournalist from the Tampa Bay Times ventured there in the dark early Thursday, finding the town of about 1,000 nearly impassable. The rest were missing roofs or siding. Roads were impassable and canals were choked with debris.

"When the water came in houses started floating", said the man identified as Scott. Houses were cracked open to reveal sodden furniture and wrecked belongings. The surge had brought stuff in. "Do not risk your life, leave NOW if you were told to do so", it said. "Our lives are gone here". "All the stores, all the restaurants, everything - there's nothing left here anymore".

"It's hard to grasp", he said.

UFC boss: Khabib Nurmagomedov won't be stripped of title
Nurmagomedov was hustled out, surrounded by security officers, as a pro-McGregor crowd jeered and threw drinks at him. In the main event for the fight card, Nurmagomedov submitted former champion Conor McGregor in the fourth round.

"This was never in our imagination", he said.

The storm's winds partially demolished some structures in Panama City and stripped off roofs.

While Florence took five days between the time it turned into a hurricane and the moment it rolled into the Carolinas, Michael gave Florida what amounted to two days' notice.

"Michael should weaken as it crosses the southeastern United States through Thursday", the NHC said.

President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday: "We are very well prepared for the incoming hurricane".

Trump previously said he intends to visit affected areas on Sunday or Monday. But "we have to make sure things are safe".

Olivia Smith, public information officer for the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners, said there was "one hurricane-related fatality", adding that the incident was "debris-related".

Field hospitals are in the process of being set up, and could likely serve the community for a long time. "Dangerous storm surge continues along the coast of the Florida Panhandle".

By 12 a.m. EDT Thursday, the storm's winds had dropped to tropical storm strength with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour and it was moving northeast at 17 miles per hour.

Both NOAA and Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft have flown through the hurricane's four quadrants - and the NHC says, "The planes actually passed through the eye around the same time [Tuesday morning], and reported that they could see one another".

Past year saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Harvey, which caused a record-equaling $125 billion in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area.

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