Hurricane Michael weakens into a tropical storm over central Georgia

Mitchell Pope tries to salvage what he can from his mobile home on Oct. 10 in Saint Marks

After transforming from a major to a mighty storm in a matter of hours, a ferocious Hurricane Michael roared ashore east of Panama City Wednesday with pounding 155 mph winds.

Hurricane Michael is already causing damage in north Florida before making landfall.

Long, the head of FEMA, said many Florida buildings were not built to withstand a storm above the strength of a Category 3 hurricane on the five-level Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

- High tides: storm surge of 6 feet (2 meters) up to 14 feet (4 meters) forecast for Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend.

As winds subsided in Panama City, resident Reid Garrett said his concerns shifted to flooding outside his apartment complex, which surrounded by downed trees. According to The Weather Channel, no Category 4 hurricane in historical records dating back to 1851 has ever made landfall in the region. But it was still menacing the Southeast with heavy rains, blustery winds and possible spinoff tornadoes, soaking areas swamped by epic flooding last month from Hurricane Florence. The only storms with lower pressure were Hurricane Camille in 1969, and the unnamed Labor Day hurricane of 1935.

There has never been a Category 4 hurricane make landfall on the Florida Panhandle - ever.

The volleyball net remains standing at Jinks Middle School in Panama City after Hurricane Michael tore through.

Rick Reichmuth, Fox News' chief meteorologist, said Michael was the fourth-most powerful storm to make landfall in the USA when measuring by wind, and the third-most powerful in terms of pressure, at 919 mb.

"We are in new territory", National Hurricane Centre Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook.

After ramping up in intensity with maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, Category 4 Hurricane Michael was zeroing in on landfall in an area now being pinpointed between St. Vincent Island and Panama City.

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Colorado State University hurricane expert Phil Klotzbach said in an email: "I really fear for what things are going to look like there tomorrow at this time".

While we might not get more storms in a warmer climate, most studies show storms will get stronger and produce more rain. "She's my baby", a distraught O'Brien said, her face wet with tears.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican running for the US Senate in November's congressional elections, declared a state of emergency in 35 Florida counties.

- Power outages: 190,000 Florida customers and 32,000 Georgia customers without power.

As winds started to topple trees in Tallahassee, one of them landed on Joe Marino's chimney. You are not going to survive it. She said she could smell the pine from snapped tree branches. Michael is now positioned 60 miles south-southwest of Panama City. Hundreds of military families were moved out, and the base's aircraft, which include F-22 Raptors, were flown to safety hundreds of miles away.

Warm water is the energy that fuels hurricanes, and the Gulf water is 4 to 5 degrees warmer than normal.

Hargan, a bartender at a riverfront restaurant, feared he would lose his home and his job to the storm.

"I'm just praying for them and, as soon as this passes, we will be out there doing everything we can to rescue everybody..."

"I'm freaking scared I'm going to lose everything I own, man."

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