Georgia girl, 11, dies as Michael hurls debris through roof

Hurricane Michael claims 1st victim as it leaves path of destruction in Florida

The Carolinas are still recovering from Hurricane Florence, which left dozens dead and is estimated to have caused billions of dollars in damage last month. Several hours after the hurricane made landfall, the eye of the storm had moved out of the Panhandle and was just west of Albany, Georgia, the NHC said.

Torrential rains are battering the Panhandle city of Apalachicola.

The Category 4 hurricane was the fiercest to hit Florida in 80 years when it came ashore on Wednesday, but its strength waned as it pushed into Georgia. It had top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (145 kph) and was moving to the northeast at 17 miles per hour (27 kph).

As thousands of National Guard troops, law enforcement officers and medical teams spread out, the governor pleaded with people in the devastated areas to stay away because of hazards such as fallen trees and power lines.

Michael was expected to be the strongest hurricane, based on wind speeds, to make landfall in the continental U.S. since Hurricane Charley hit Florida in 2004.

Michael weakened as it crossed rain-soaked Georgia and moved northeast toward SC, the National Hurricane Center said.

"Hurricane Michael can not break Florida", Scott vowed. Up to a foot (30 cm) of rain was forecast in Florida.

Linda Marquardt, 67, rode out the storm with her husband at their home in Mexico Beach.

Early Thursday, he said that Michael was "definitely one of the most violent [hurricanes] I've been in".

Storm damage is seen after Hurricane Michael October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida.

And unless we change the rate of greenhouse gas emissions, we should expect hurricanes to intensify more rapidly in the coming decades, the scientific research group Climate Central said. Wind damage was also evident. "So many families have lost everything", he said.

Some 500,000 Florida residents had been ordered or urged to seek higher ground before the storm in 20 counties spanning a 200-mile stretch of shoreline, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said. Torrential rainfall is expected along the northeastern Gulf Coast. But the fate of many residents was unknown. "This happened so quickly", he said.

Reporter Peyton LoCicero went on Periscope, an app that allows people to live stream to a public audience from a cellphone, to give updates about the storm.

Tropical Storm Michael has sped off toward the Atlantic Ocean, but there will be nothing quick about Florida's recovery from the hurricane, where rows upon rows of homes have been smashed to pieces.

The hurricane disrupted energy operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico as it approached land, cutting crude oil production by more than 40 percent and natural gas output by almost one-third as offshore platforms were evacuated. Tornado warnings were also in effect for most of northern Florida and Georgia.

The hurricane has given national exposure to Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is trying to unseat Democratic Sen.

The Pentagon said about 5,000 United States servicemen were deployed to help with relief and recovery efforts, using 100 helicopters and 1,800 high-water vehicles.

Even before landfall, the hurricane disrupted energy operations in the Gulf, cutting crude oil production by more than 40 percent and natural gas output by almost one-third as offshore platforms were evacuated before the storm hit. Isolated maximum totals of 9 inches are possible in North Carolina and Virginia. Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina reported hundreds of thousands more outages. The COTP for Hampton Roads set Port Condition X-ray at 4 p.m., for the Port of Virginia.

The storm was rolling northeast at 24 miles per hour.

All ocean-going commercial vessels and ocean-going barges greater than 500 gross tons should make plans for departing ports in the Hampton Roads COTP zone. These ports and facilities are now open to all commercial traffic and all transfer operations may continue while X-ray remains in effect. Vessels desiring to remain in port must immediately contact the COTP to receive permission and are required to submit a safe mooring plan in writing.

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