Officials in Florida ended mass evacuations Wednesday morning and told remaining residents to stay in place as the powerful Hurricane Michael gained steam in the hours before it was expected to make landfall across the southeastern portion of the United States.
Hurricane Michael was a category 4 storm, which means it was sustaining winds anywhere from 130-156 miles per hour. But forecasters warned that there was a very real possibility of Michael strengthening all the way up to a category 5 designation, with anything in excess of those 156 miles per hour winds.
The National Weather Service has defined a Category 5 storm as “Catastrophic: Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small buildings blown over or away. Power outages for weeks or months.”
The Florida Panhandle region in the northern part of the state was expected to take the brunt of Michael’s beating. A hurricane with the strength of a category 4 storm has never hit the Florida Panhandle, CNN reported on the air Wednesday morning.
“Commuter students, their immediate families, and employees who would like to take shelter in the Foster-Tanner Music Building – Band Rehearsal Hall on Pinder Drive (behind the Student Union) are urged to arrive immediately to avoid traveling in heavy winds and rain,” FAMU wrote on its website Tuesday night. “Boxed meals and water have been delivered to all residence halls, as well as shelters housing students, employees and visitors for Wednesday, October 10.”
As has been shown with past powerful hurricanes, Black residents can many times get hit the hardest when strong storms come. That was true just two months ago, when Hurricane Florence slammed the country’s southeastern coast, disproportionately affecting the African-American community in Wilmington, North Carolina.
With Tallahassee being 35 percent Black, including its own mayor who just happens to be leading the polls running to be the state’s next governor, let’s hope that history does not repeat itself with Hurricane Michael.
Have a look below at some of the images and video coming out of areas that were bracing for Michael’s wrath.
Photos: Hurricane Michael Slams Into The Florida Panhandle As Southeast US Braces was originally published on newsone.com
1. Category 4 storm, and counting
#Michael is now a fierce Category 4 hurricane, with top sustained winds of 130 mph. It may strengthen even further before landfall. No Cat 4 landfall has occurred in the Florida Panhandle in 167 years of recordkeeping. https://t.co/hbdraUzrT2 pic.twitter.com/JFe4Hh3UlX— Weather Underground (@wunderground) October 10, 2018
2. Florida’s Panhandle
Neko Blaine holds Alaina Blaine, 4, as they sit in the lobby of the Hilton Gardens Inn after leaving their home for a safer place as the outer bands of hurricane Michael arrive on October 10, 2018, in Panama City, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
3. Orange Beach/Gulf Shores
These are the conditions @MaryWVTM13 and I found in Orange Beach/Gulf Shores this morning as #HurricaneMichael approaches the Florida panhandle. Winds have been gusting hard most of the morning. We'll have a live report from Orange Beach at 11am on @WVTM13 #WVTM pic.twitter.com/YraVPusp3i— Todd Eagle (@Todd_WVTM13) October 10, 2018
4. Apalachicola, Florida
5. Florida’s Panhandle Region
Waves crash along a pier as the outer bands of hurricane Michael arrive on Oct. 10, 2018, in Panama City Beach, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
6. Rock Landing, Florida (near Panacea)
Storm surge picture from this morning around 6:30am near Rock Landing Florida (near Panacea). Can't stress this enough, these impacts from the surge is only the beginning, it's going to get higher! #Surge #FLwx #HurricaneMichael pic.twitter.com/9JHSV6syhM— NWS Tallahassee (@NWSTallahassee) October 10, 2018
7. Florida’s Panhandle
Cameron Sadowski walks along where waves are crashing onto the beach as the outer bands of hurricane Michael arrive on October 10, 2018, in Panama City Beach, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
8. Florida’s Panhandle
A few cars drive along a bridge as the outer bands of hurricane Michael arrive on October 10, 2018, in Panama City, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
9. Panama City Beach
Workers board the windows of Marco’s Pizza as Hurricane Michael approaches October 9, 2018, in Panama City Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)