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Georgia Power preparing for anticipated outages in Michael aftermath

11 October 2018

When Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle Wednesday, it was a Category 4 hurricane.

Hurricane Michael also stands out because of its late arrival.

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".

It strengthened from a tropical storm on Sunday to a Category 1 hurricane with 75-mph winds on Monday.

The storm made landfall as a powerful Category 4, the second highest rating on the Saffir-Sampson wind scale, and strike a stretch of the state's north-western coastline known as the Florida Panhandle. The Carolinas, still recovering following Hurricane Florence, could see heavy rain, potentially causing flooding. Its sustained winds were just 2 miles per hour (3.2 kph) shy of an extremely rare Category 5.

"Safety is our first priority and most times it's a distraction when they are trying to restore service and it delays the process of getting the restoration services where it needs to be", said External Affairs Manager Theresa Robinson.

If you live in an area affected by the hurricane, you can find the latest forecasts and warnings at the National Hurricane Center's website.

Major cities such as Houston were flooded, causing as much as $300 billion in damage, according to estimates. Surges of as high as 14 feet are expected around where Michael made landfall near Apalachicola, Florida. Only Hurricane Camille on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969 and the so-called Labor Day hurricane of 1935 in the Florida Keys were more intense.

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Looking at the entire hurricane season, Michael had the strongest winds since 1992 and Hurricane Andrew.

Hurricane Michael will also cause almost one million people to be without power, not just on the coast but inland as well in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. "I know that there's a lot of bad stuff that happened out there on the Panhandle, but I think that we were very fortunate here", Lake City resident Tyler Flanagan said.

Gov. Rick Scott announced afterward that thousands of law enforcement officers, utility crews and search and rescue teams would now go into recovery mode.

As the Tallahassee office of the National Weather Service said on Twitter earlier Wednesday: "If you're not sheltered in place now, you need to be!"

Megan Williams, left, and roommate Kaylee O'Brian take belongings from their destroyed home after several trees fell on the house during Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Oct. 10, 2018.

President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida, freeing up federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses.

Hurricane Michael blasted parts of Florida's Gulf coast with 155mph winds last night, threatening devastation in flood-prone communities and posing a critical pre-election test for the state's political leaders.

Scientists have long warned that global warming will make storms more destructive, and some say the evidence for this may already be visible.