Warm water is like jet fuel for hurricanes, and a combination of balmy conditions in the Gulf of Mexico, a lack of disturbance from wind shear and rapid intensification near the coast turned Michael into a historic storm, according to hurricane experts.
The storm is moving north-northeast at 16 miles per hour and is likely to remain a strong hurricane through Wednesday night as the system is expected to move through parts of Georgia and into the Carolinas.
"Michael will then move northeastward across the southeastern United States through Thursday, and then move off the Mid-Atlantic coast away from the United States on late Thursday night and Friday".
"Oh my God, what are we seeing?" said evacuee Rachel Franklin, her mouth hanging open. The combination of winds and storm surge will absolutely devastate portions of the Florida coastline.
Hurricane Michael continued to batter the Southeast, pummeling states with powerful rain, wind and flooding.
Residents who are still in Florida are being battered by Hurricane Michael, which made landfall Wednesday afternoon.
In Panama City Beach, a building that was still under construction didn't stand a chance against Michael.
More than 40 percent of daily crude oil production and more than one-third of natural gas output was lost from offshore US Gulf of Mexico wells on Wednesday because of platform evacuations and shut-ins caused by Michael.
Ricketts called for Michael to be a tropical depression, or a post-tropical depression, by the time it gets to the WTOP listening area, and to be pushed off the coast of Virginia by the cold front.
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Foreign demand for another type of Chinese assets will be tested later this week, when the nation markets a sale of dollar bonds. On Monday, the blue-chip CSI300 index opened 2.3 percent lower and at midday was down 3.6 percent at 3,315.01 points.
Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the US mainland, behind the unnamed Labour Day storm of 1935 and Camille in 1969.
- Power outages: 190,000 Florida customers and 32,000 Georgia customers without power.
"We're going to do everything we can and send people out to keep people safe".
"This happened so quickly, we weren't exactly prepared", he said.
Ken Graham, director of the Miami-based National Hurricane Center, said Michael is "unfortunately, a historical and incredibly risky and life-threatening situation".
Twenty miles to the south, floodwaters were more than 7-1/2 feet (2.3 meters) deep near Apalachicola, a town of about 2,300 residents, hurricane center chief Ken Graham said.
The governor didn't wait for damage assessments before seeking federal assistance from President Donald Trump for 14 counties: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor and Wakulla.
NASA has released incredible footage of Hurricane Michael as seen from space. Up to a foot (30 cm) of rain was forecast in Florida.
Authorities said at least one person has died, a man killed by a tree falling on a Panhandle home. "The emergency declaration is effective for seven days and makes all state resources available to local governments and entities within the impacted area of the hurricane", his office said.