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The Hurricane Michael coverage you need to read this morning  4 Days ago

Source:   USA Today  

Now, the cleanup begins.

Michael is officially a post-tropical storm, moving away from the East Coast but not before wreaking havoc in Florida and other parts of the south.

At its peak, Michael morphed into a Category 4 hurricane with wind speeds up to 155 miles per hour.

Here's everything you need to know about the Michael this morning:

As of Friday morning, Michael killed at least 11 people. Nearly 1.5 million people across five states are without power.

In only two hours, Michael ravaged Panama City, tearing apart trees and ripping roofs from homes. Several local residents gathered at a nearby hotel to seek shelter.  “We made a good decision to come to the motel,” said Ramon Zavala of Panama City. “The roof is blown off and it’s leaking, but everybody is safe.”

Mexico Beach was devastated after Michael tore through the Florida vacation destination. “I don’t know how to process this," said Becky Daniel, whose home was among those destroyed by the storm.

Tyndall Air Force Base, a key piece in the network of bases helping protect the continental U.S., was also hit hard by Michael. The base has no power, water or sewer service. The Air Force said it is clearing a route to offer security, drinkable water, bathrooms and communication equipment. 

Based on barometric pressure, Michael was the third-strongest hurricane to make landfall in the U.S., beating other notable storms such as Andrew and Katrina. Michael reached sustained wind speed of 155 miles per hour, the fourth-strongest ever. The storm was only two miles per hour away from formally becoming a Category 5 hurricane.

How much did global warming play a role in Michael's intensity? A potential key factor is unusually warm water in the Gulf, which experts say is linked to man-made climate change. "There's no doubt the ocean water encountered by Michael was quite warm compared to the last three decades, especially near the coast," said meteorologist Ryan Maue.


With Michael gone, volunteers from the Salvation Army and Red Cross will spread across Florida to feed thousands of the storm's survivors. Officials with the Salvation Army said each of their sites will serve two hot meals a day. The American Red Cross said about 4,000 people stayed Tuesday night in 70 Red Cross and community evacuation centers across Florida, Georgia and Alabama. 

Although Michael is now off the East Coast and into open water, federal officials urge residents to stay away from flooded areas. Teams including the Federal Emergency Management Agency are prioritizing bringing back communications and transportation to affected areas. Meanwhile, crews continue working to repair damaged power and gas lines.

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