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Hurricane Michael leaves destruction behind

UPDATE 10/12 4:20 PM ET

Included in the widespread, catastrophic damage left by Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle, the United States Air Force is reporting that Tyndall Air Force Base in Bay County took a “direct hit” from Michael’s eye.

“Every single building and residence at Tyndall Air Force Base... is destroyed or so badly damaged that it is unlivable,” a reporter said.

F-22 Raptor fighter jets that were part of the 325th Fighter Wing were moved earlier in the week to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, but an undisclosed number of the F-22s were left behind. An Air Force spokesperson said, “A number of aircraft were left behind in hangars due to maintenance or safety reasons and all of those hangars are damaged. We anticipate the aircraft parked inside may be damaged as well, but we won’t know the extent until our crews can safely enter those hangars and make an assessment.”

UPDATE 10/12 12:00 PM ET

The death toll rose to 13 as of Friday morning. Florida authorities have received thousands of reports of missing persons and Emergency workers continue to search the area. 

UPDATE 10/11 4:00 PM ET

As first responders and rescue crews make their way through the rubble and debris in search for survivors, the death toll of has risen to five.  

Many who evacuated will be unable to return for weeks due to road closures and power outages. FEMA Administrator Brock Long said it could take months, or even years, for the hardest hit communities to recover.

UPDATE 10/11 11:30 AM ET

As of Thursday morning, two deaths from Hurricane Michael have been reported. FEMA Administrator Brock Long added, "Unfortunately in these types of things as we go through and sift through damage, ultimately those who didn't heed warnings, particularly around the Mexico Beach area, we typically see deaths climb unfortunately."

While it lost much of its strength overnight, the Carolinas, still recovering from Hurricane Florance, are expected to see 50 mph winds, tornadoes, and flooding.

Across affected states, nearly one million people are without power.

UPDATE 10/10 7:10 PM ET

Hurricane Michael made landfall shortly before 2 p.m. ET northwest of Mexico Beach and just outside Panama City, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Since then, the storm has pushed inland across Florida’s Panhandle, with Tyndall Air Force Base taking a direct hit. The eye is headed toward the extreme southeastern portion of Alabama and southwestern Georgia, according to a 5 p.m. ET advisory.

“Michael will move northeastward across the southern United States through Thursday, and then move off the Mid-Atlantic coast away from the United States late Thursday night and Friday,” the advisory said.

Hurricane Michael’s strength tore roofs off buildings, downed trees, and power lines, and caused “significant” but not yet fully assessed structural damage. Thousands are without power tonight.

UPDATE 10/10 1:50 PM ET

Hurricane Michael made landfall with gusts rising to 155 mph.

UPDATE 10/10 1:27 PM ET

Wind gusts have been recorded up to 150 mph as the hurricane builds strength. Landfall is expected within the hour. Experts say that this is the most intense storm to strike the area since 1851. FEMA Administrator Brock Long said that due to the rapid growth and fast pace of the hurricane, citizens had less time to prepare and evacuate.

President Trump voiced his concern for those who live in low-income areas and are in the center of the path of the hurricane. Many were unable to relocate. “It’s not so easy for some of these people to leave. Some of the areas are very poor... and it’s very tough for them to leave," the president added.

UPDATE 10/10 12:00 PM ET

Hurricane Michael was upgraded to a Category 4 storm. The National Weather Services said, "An extreme wind warning is currently in effect for locations between Laguna Beach and Eastpoint until 2:15 PM ET. Wind gusts in excess of 130 mph are expected." They urged those in the path of the storm to seek shelter immediately.

UPDATE 10/9 10:30 AM ET

On Tuesday morning, the National Hurricane Center upgraded Hurricane Michael to Category 2 hurricane. The storm is expected to move from the Gulf of Mexico with its eye on the Florida panhandle and Big Bend area sometime Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane.

Speaking at a law enforcement convention in Florida, President Trump said, “As Hurricane Michael nears landfall, we are working with state and local officials in Florida to take all precautions and we urge all residents to be prepared and to heed local officials. I told Rick Scott, ‘we are ready for you.’”

He said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been briefed. The president added, “Never ends, but we are all prepared and hopefully it won’t be as bad as it’s looking.” Though, he added, “it’s looking like a very big one.”

Florida Governor Rick Scott said, “This storm will be life-threatening and extremely dangerous.”

The Coast Guard has urged mariners with large vessels to move inland. Governor Scott has called out 500 members of the Florida National Guard, and they are “preparing for possible missions to include humanitarian assistance, security operations, and search and rescue.” Mandatory evacuations have been posted in several areas.

The storm will move later in the week across Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, including areas that suffered under Hurricane Florence last month.

Sources: CNN, ABC News, Fox News, Washington Post, New York Times
As the Lord Leads, pray with us:
  • For the people of Florida on the Gulf Coast, and especially areas in the target zone of Hurricane Michael.
  • For first responders, including FEMA, the Coast Guard, and National Guard, as they prepare for and help during the storm.