2 fatalities reported as Michael pushes through Georgia, South Carolina
Michael made landfall along the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday afternoon and is pushing inland across the southeastern United States.
Mexico Beach, Florida, was hit with severe damage where the powerful, unprecedented storm made landfall. Wind gusts over 100 mph were common across during the height of the storm.
“A Category 4 hurricane has never struck that part of Florida,” said AccuWeather Vice President of Forecasting and Graphics Operations Marshall Moss. “The coastline will be changed for decades”
More than 600,000 were without power across the region on Wednesday night and officials warn that some areas could be without power for days.
The National Hurricane Center said the storm is a “worst-case scenario” for the region. Michael is the first Category 4 hurricane to hit the area.
7:35 am. EDT Thursday:
More than 66,000 are without power in South Carolina, emergency management reports. Wind gusts up to 60 mph are possible in some areas.
Hundreds of thousands are still without power in Florida and Georgia.
Winds are starting to whip the Carolinas as Michael makes its way up the coast.
5:45 a.m. EDT Thursday:
Strong winds and rounds of drenching rain battered Georgia overnight and have started to spread over South Carolina. Wind gusts reached 40-60 mph across Georgia overnight, and similar gusts are expected across the Carolinas over the next 24 hours.
Areas along the coast can expect strong onshore winds today. At Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, wind gusts are already exceeding 35 mph.
Emergency managers in counties throughout southwestern and central Georgia have been responding the reports of roads and homes being impacted by felled trees throughout the night.
Anyone living or working in areas previously impacted by Florence will need to be especially vigilant, as the saturated will make it easier for trees and power lines to fall.
Once the rain and wind die down, travel is discouraged until local authorities can clear roadways and ensure all utilities, such as water and gas, are operating safely.
2:06 a.m. EDT Thursday:
A second fatality has been attributed to Michael. A child in Lake Seminole, Georgia, reportedly died when a tree fell into a house, according to ABC News.
Lake Seminole is located in far southwestern Georgia. Winds gusted to 71 mph in nearby Tallahassee earlier on Wednesday.
Over 600,000 customers are without power across Florida and Georgia due to the continuing impacts of Matthew, with an increasing percentage of these occurring across central Georgia.
The tornado watches previously in effect in southeastern Georgia, including Savannah, has expired. Conditions across far eastern Georgia and the entirety of South Carolina will remain favorable for tornado formation through the early morning.
12:10 a.m. EDT Thursday:
Michael is now a tropical storm, packing sustained winds as high as 70 mph even as it moves into central Georgia.
Winds have gusted to 40 mph in areas as far north as Atlanta, despite being nearly 90 miles away from the center of the storm.