Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle Wednesday, 10 October, making landfall as the first Category 4 storm in the area in recorded history. With winds of up to 155 miles per hour (250 kilometers per hour), the hurricane was the third most powerful hurricane to ever strike the U.S. mainland. The damage was severe: more than 900,000 homes and businesses in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas were without power, and many homes were ripped apart or washed away. So far, 17 deaths have been reported.
The storm moved fast and intensified quickly. Although 375,000 people were ordered to evacuate, many did not have time to prepare or didn’t realize how much worse the storm would get. The towns of Panama City and Mexico Beach were especially devastated. The storm lost force quickly and has now entered the Atlantic after moving northeast as a tropical storm.