Michael leaves behind destruction in Panhandle, with at least two dead

Flood waters hit the Cooter Stew Cafe in Saint Marks Florida on Oct. 10 2018 as Hurricane Michael pushes the storm surge

In Panama City Beach, a building that was still under construction didn't stand a chance against Michael.

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Leslie and Tropical Storm Nadine are no threat to land over the open Atlantic Ocean, but Tropical Storm Sergio is expected to hit Mexico's Baja California Peninsula later this week and threaten the southern U.S. Plains and the Ozarks by the weekend. Andrew Lamonica, 64, a retired power company worker and lifelong Panama City Beach resident, ignored orders to evacuate ahead of one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit the United States and waited out the storm in his rented bungalow.

Michael was continuing to intensify even as it made landfall Wednesday, an unusual phenomenon that surprised some experts.

See the latest from the Capital Weather Gang here and track the storm's path here.

Michael's strength may reflect the effect of climate change on storms.

With the Tropical Storm Warning in effect across southeast Georgia the Sidney Lanier will be closed at 6pm Wednesday.

Life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall arrived with Michael, which is inundating the coastline.

A Storm Surge Watch has been issued for the coast of North Carolina from Ocracoke Inlet to Duck. According to local reports, police received a call around 6 p.m. about a man trapped by a fallen tree.

Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the USA mainland, behind the unnamed Labor Day storm of 1935 and Camille in 1969.

At 5 a.m., the major hurricane was holding maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour.

Meteorologists use another measure to evaluate hurricane intensity: central pressure.

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Michael is moving north at 13 mph, now 90 miles southwest of Panama City.

A satellite image of Michael took the terrifying shape of a skull as it roared closer to the Florida Panhandle as a fierce Category 4 storm on Tuesday.

When it made landfall Wednesday afternoon, it was blowing at 155mph (250km/h).

People look on at a damaged store after Hurricane Michael passed through on October 10 in Panama City, Florida.

The lower the air pressure, the less air molecules there are. Wind speeds in the 7 a.m. report also remained at 140 miles per hour.

Despite weakening to a tropical storm, risky wind guests of 50mph are still heading inland.

-Hurricane history: first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Florida's Panhandle since record-keeping began in 1851.

"Hurricane Michael is an unprecedented event and can not be compared to any of our previous events". The storm was the strongest to ever hit the Panhandle and the fourth Category 4 storm to hit the U.S.in the past 15 months. Flash flooding is also expected to be a major concern as the storm continues to push inland.

Some communities in Georgia had 5 inches of rain and more than 350,000 people were without power, the Weather Channel reported Thursday morning.

It made landfall on the coast as a Category 1 hurricane on September 14 and drenched some parts of the state with 40 inches (101 centimeters) of rain.

On the forecast track, the eye of Michael is expected to move ashore over the Florida Panhandle later today near Panama City, move northeastward across the southeastern US tonight and Thursday, and then move off the Mid-Atlantic coast away from the USA on Friday.

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