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Hurricane Michael Updates: Storm Charges Northwest, Leaving Destruction in Florida

Hurricane Michael charged through Florida and into Georgia on Wednesday, lashing the Panhandle with rains and heavy winds. Water raced in from the sea, flooding the streets and leaving at least one person dead.

The storm whipsawed trees, blew away large chunks of fencing and bent stop signs almost parallel to the ground. Videos posted to social media showed a tapestry of damage near a marina in Mexico Beach: waterlogged homes, flying debris, splintered wood. But it was impossible to gauge the full extent of the carnage because the waters, already topping some buildings whose roofs just peeked through, were still rising.

“This is the worst storm that our Florida Panhandle has seen in a century,” Gov. Rick Scott warned.

Just about every update seemed to bring greater grimness: closed bridges, more towering waves, suspended emergency services, admonitions that the time to evacuate had passed. The hurricane center reported a 130-mile-per-hour wind gust near the evacuated Tyndall Air Force Base — and said that the measuring instrument had then failed.

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Here’s the latest:

The storm made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane near Mexico Beach, Fla., around midday on Wednesday, with 155 mile-an-hour winds. By 8 p.m., the storm was 20 miles south of Albany, Ga., and had lost strength, with maximum winds of 90 m.p.h.

Storm surges flooded much of the coastline of the Florida Panhandle. A water-level station at Apalachicola was reporting nearly five feet of inundation above ground level.

A man died after a tree crashed down on his home in Greensboro, northwest of Tallahassee, the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Wednesday.

Power losses were widespread, with more than 300,000 customers in Florida without electricity.

Tyndall Air Force Base, near Panama City, Fla., said it had sustained extensive damage. “Evacuated personnel should make plans for an extended time away from the base,” Tyndall said on its Facebook page.

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Culled New York Times

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