Vicious winds pound Panama City Beach as Hurricane Michael makes landfall
Hurricane Michael made landfall as a potentially “catastrophic” Category 4 storm Wednesday afternoon, packing winds as strong as 150 mph and barraging the Gulf Coast with rain and flooding. The worst-hit areas are expected to be between Panama City and Apalachicola, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Some areas could see as much as 14 feet of storm surge, a wall of water that could float cars and cover small buildings, according to the NHS.
At 2 p.m., the storm was about 60 miles west of Tallahasee and moving northeast at about 15 mph.
Some social media users caught video of Micheal’s punishing winds ripping apart buildings and bending trees to the ground. Watch some of them below.
One video seemed to show a meteorologist barely miss becoming speared by a flying piece of wood.
The storm is expected to continue moving in a northeastern arc across south and central Georgia before pushing through the Carolinas and brushing the eastern tip of Virginia.
The National Weather Service expects torrential rains and possible tornadoes to pummel Georgia before the center of the storm arrives, after which the state could experience tropical storm force winds of 45 to 55 mph with gusts up to 70 mph. The worst effects are expected to be felt south of a line between Americus and to Warner Robins and Eastman.
“We are asking all citizens to secure outdoor items like trash cans, urns or outdoor furniture,” Columbus, Ga., Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said Wednesday in an advisory. “At this point, we are only expecting 2 to 3 inches of rain, which is a level we can readily handle. Just use common sense and take typical storm precautions, and we should all be OK.”
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency for 108 of the state’s 159 counties, including Muscogee, Chattahoochee, Talbot, Marion, Stewart, Sumter, Taylor, Schley, Quitman and Webster south and east of Columbus. Harris and Troup counties north of Columbus are not part of the state of emergency. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey also declared a statewide emergency in her state.