Hurricane Michael by the numbers: Over 700,000 homes, businesses without power

Hurricane Michael, a historic Category 4 storm, struck the Florida Panhandle early Wednesday afternoon, unleashing heavy rain, high winds and a devastating storm surge.

500: The number of disaster relief workers that the American Red Cross was sending to affected areas in the Sunshine State.

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ABC News -
Hurricane Michael forecast: What to expect in Florida, Georgia and beyond

Hurricane Michael ripped through the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 storm Wednesday and is targeting Georgia and the Carolinas next.

Michael is forecast to move quickly through Florida, and then into Georgia, which could be hit as a Category 2 hurricane, according to FEMA. "What you're going to see is a storm moving very rapidly through Georgia, and it will maintain hurricane strength through southwest Georgia and central Georgia as it passes through later today and early tomorrow," Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told "Good Morning America" on Wednesday.

Reuters -
Powerful Hurricane Michael bashes Florida Panhandle

Extremely powerful Hurricane Michael crashed into Florida’s northwestern Panhandle coast on Wednesday, flooding towns and ripping up trees with 155 mile per hour (249 kph) winds and the potential for a devastating storm surge.

Michael, which had caught many by surprise with its rapid intensification as it churned north over the Gulf of Mexico, was the most powerful storm ever recorded to hit the Panhandle.

Reuters -
Punishing Hurricane Michael bears down on Florida Panhandle

Hurricane Michael was still strengthening as it closed in on the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday with the threat of catastrophic surges of sea water and roof-shredding winds, and was expected to be the worst hurricane ever recorded in the region.

Hurricane center Director Ken Graham said on Facebook that Michael would be the worst storm in recorded history to hit the Panhandle. “Going back through records to 1851 we can’t find another Cat 4 in this area, so this is unfortunately a historical and incredibly dangerous and life-threatening situation,” he said.

'Monstrous' hurricane set to hit Florida

Powerful Hurricane Michael is set to make landfall in Florida later on Wednesday, forcing mass evacuations in the southern US state.

A category three storm with winds near 125mph (201km/h), Michael is expected to strengthen further when it hits the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend in the north-west, meteorologists warn. In its bulletin, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said: "Some further strengthening is expected overnight and on Wednesday, and Michael is forecast to become a category four hurricane before it makes landfall."

Fox News -
As Hurricane Michael nears, Florida businesses hang tough: 'If you can’t be there when someone needs you, then what good are you'

Hours before Hurricane Michael is set to slam the Florida Panhandle, many people along the Gulf Coast are left scrambling to track down last-minute groceries.

In a desperate plea earlier that day, Florida Gov. Rick Scott urged people along the coast to heed mandatory evacuations. He warned Floridians that the Category 3 hurricane “is forecasted to be the most destructive storm to hit the Panhandle in decades.”

Washington Post -
‘Monstrous’ Hurricane Michael bears down on Florida Panhandle

Officials in Florida and Alabama declared emergencies and issued dire warnings as Hurricane Michael charged closer to the coast on Tuesday, with forecasters saying the storm could flood the coastlines before tearing across a region still reeling from a deadly hurricane just weeks earlier.

These forecasts called for the hurricane to make landfall in northwest Florida on Wednesday as a Category 3 storm, bringing with it powerful winds, rain and a “life-threatening storm surge” that could reach as high as 12 feet in some areas, the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday.

'Monstrous' Hurricane Michael strengthens

Hurricane Michael has strengthened to a category two storm, with winds topping 100mph (155km/h) as it churns towards the Florida coast.

Governor Scott warned in a news conference that Hurricane Michael is a "massive storm that could bring total devastation to parts of our state, especially in the panhandle". The agency warned residents in Florida and Alabama of possible storm surges, high winds and flash flooding.

Fox News -
Hurricane Michael targets north Florida as 'monstrous' storm gains strength

An intensifying Hurricane Michael gained strength over warm tropical waters on Tuesday as residents across Florida's northern Gulf Coast are boarding homes and preparing to evacuate ahead of the dangerous storm.

"Hurricane Michael is intensifying and is threatening the Northeastern Gulf Wednesday as a major hurricane," Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean said Tuesday. "The system is likely to strike the Florida Panhandle as a Cat 3 hurricane with dangerous, potentially catastrophic storm surge, destructive winds and flooding rain."

ABC News -
Hurricane tracker: Officials say Michael could be 'most destructive in decades'

Hurricane Michael continued to strengthen early Tuesday, with the possibility for it to be a Category 3 storm by landfall on Wednesday.

"Hurricane Michael is forecast to be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades," Scott said at a press conference Monday evening. Scott declared a state of emergency in 35 counties throughout the Sunshine State, while the National Weather Service issued warnings for dozens of cities near the Gulf coastline.

CBS News -
"Monstrous" Hurricane Michael eyeing Florida's Gulf Coast

Michael gained new strength over warm tropical waters amid fears it would swiftly intensify into a major hurricane before striking Florida's northeast Gulf Coast, where frantic coastal residents were  boarding up homes and seeking evacuation routes away from the dangerous storm heading their way.

With the storm next entering the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico, which has warm water and favorable atmospheric conditions, "There is a real possibility that Michael will strengthen to a major hurricane before landfall," Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the Miami-based storm forecasting hub, wrote in an advisory.

Fox News -
Florida residents brace for impact as 'monstrous' Hurricane Michael gains strength

Residents are filling sandbags and boarding up their homes as Hurricane Michael gained strength over warm waters and barrels toward Florida's northeast Gulf Coast.

The hurricane was located about 425 miles south of Apalachicola and 455 miles south of Panama City, Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center's 2 a.m. Residents are filling sandbags and boarding up their homes as Hurricane Michael gained strength over warm waters and barrels toward Florida's northeast Gulf Coast.

CBS News -
Hurricane Michael could hit Florida Panhandle as Category 2 storm

A tropical weather system rapidly strengthened Monday into Hurricane Michael Monday and is likely to keep growing stronger ahead of an expected strike on Florida's Panhandle by midweek, forecasters said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Monday night Hurricane Michael will be "the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades" and storm surge can reach 8 to 12 feet and is "absolutely deadly" and "you can't hide form storm surge," urging families to take this seriously and get prepared.

“Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets...” ― Napoléon Bonaparte