Why Hurricane Michael is a monster unlike any other

Even those jaded by hurricanes have never seen anything like this.For the first time, a Category 4 hu...

Posted: Oct 10, 2018 2:55 PM
Updated: Oct 11, 2018 9:20 AM

Even those jaded by hurricanes have never seen anything like this.

For the first time, a Category 4 hurricane slammed into the Florida Panhandle. And it's bringing an onslaught of deadly hazards.

"Unfortunately, this is a hurricane of the worst kind," said Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Here's what makes Hurricane Michael especially dangerous:

It's the strongest hurricane to ever hit Florida's panhandle

Michael crashed onto Florida's coast Wednesday with 155 mph winds -- strong enough to demolish houses.

Those kinds of winds "are above typical building codes," Long said.

Hurricane Andrew in 1992 inspired tougher standards in Florida. But many older houses aren't built to withstand a beast like Michael.

"You're going to see roofs off houses. You're going to see houses collapsing," said Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center.

Track hurricane Michael

Pine trees could become flying weapons

Florida's Panhandle is covered with thousands of pine trees. And as winds top 150 mph, those trees could turn into violent projectiles.

"You get those kinds of winds, (and) it's catastrophic damage to the trees' structure," Graham said.

And with downed trees come power outages.

"This could bring down thousands and thousands of those pine trees here -- not only making all the damage along the coast but inland as well," CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.

Graham said because this storm is "absolutely overwhelming," power outages could last weeks.

Cities far inland will feel an actual hurricane

Many hurricanes sputter out after they hit land and lose the title of hurricane.

Michael plowed through the Southeast as a hurricane, with winds topping 73 mph as it crossed into Georgia. By early Thursday, it was a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph

"Because of the forward movement -- the decent forward movement it has -- you're going to see a hurricane stay intact through southwest and central Georgia," Long said.

"And then you're going to see rainfall through South and North Carolina, dumping 4 to 6 inches of rain in rivers that are already saturated and haven't really receded much from Florence a few weeks ago."

Storm surges could be deadly

Michael will spawn massive storm surges -- or walls of ocean water -- as high as 14 feet, forecasters said.

"Half of the fatalities in these tropical systems occur with the storm surge," Graham said.

The FEMA chief said storm surge is huge reason why evacuations are so critical.

"This is nothing to play around with," Long said. "Those who stick around and experience storm surge are less likely to live to tell about it."

The hurricane will likely spawn tornadoes, too

As if one cyclone weren't enough, Hurricane Michael could cause tornadoes in several states.

Tornadoes could strike the Panhandle and other parts of northern Florida, the National Hurricane Center said.

"This risk (of tornadoes) will spread into parts of central and southern Georgia and southern South Carolina this afternoon and tonight," the forecasters said.

Hurricanes that make landfall from the Gulf of Mexico, like Michael did, produce more tornadoes than those making landfall from the Atlantic Ocean, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.

Hurricanes are good at producing tornadoes because they cause a lot of vertical shear -- or differences in wind direction and speed at different heights.

And people living far away from the center of the hurricane aren't immune. They're actually more at risk.

Most tornadoes spawned by tropical cyclones strike about 50 to 200 miles from the hurricane's center, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 61839

Reported Deaths: 1707
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin19569839
Ramsey7717268
Dakota4507106
Anoka3752115
Stearns290920
Washington216345
Nobles17686
Olmsted176723
Scott159020
Mower11052
Rice10388
Blue Earth9325
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Carver8783
Clay78840
Sherburne7328
Kandiyohi7021
St. Louis57319
Todd4292
Lyon4253
Freeborn3601
Steele3512
Nicollet34713
Watonwan3230
Benton3203
Winona26416
Beltrami2440
Crow Wing23814
Le Sueur2261
Martin2095
Chisago2041
McLeod2020
Goodhue1999
Otter Tail1983
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Becker1611
Pipestone1589
Polk1554
Waseca1490
Itasca14612
Douglas1441
Carlton1420
Unassigned13141
Dodge1290
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Pine1290
Murray1241
Chippewa1071
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Pennington751
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Fillmore670
Renville665
Lincoln580
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Swift551
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Roseau520
Pope480
Houston420
Aitkin411
Norman400
Kanabec371
Redwood360
Hubbard350
Wilkin343
Marshall290
Wadena270
Mahnomen271
Red Lake240
Big Stone220
Lake210
Stevens180
Clearwater140
Traverse110
Lac qui Parle80
Cook50
Lake of the Woods40
Kittson30

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 49380

Reported Deaths: 942
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10444208
Woodbury373452
Black Hawk315766
Linn242888
Johnson211819
Dallas189835
Buena Vista179412
Scott174314
Dubuque169831
Marshall145026
Pottawattamie133228
Story117315
Wapello90533
Muscatine85148
Webster8268
Crawford7313
Sioux6433
Cerro Gordo63417
Warren5721
Tama55429
Jasper48127
Wright4751
Plymouth47011
Clinton4164
Dickinson3844
Louisa37814
Washington30510
Boone2623
Hamilton2511
Franklin24512
Bremer2307
Clarke2043
Clay2011
Carroll1942
Emmet1934
Des Moines1872
Shelby1861
Hardin1840
Marion1750
Poweshiek1608
Benton1601
Floyd1582
Allamakee1564
Jackson1561
Mahaska14217
Guthrie1355
Cedar1341
Jones1332
Buchanan1291
Henry1274
Madison1252
Butler1252
Hancock1212
Lee1183
Humboldt1181
Pocahontas1172
Delaware1171
Lyon1152
Harrison1101
Cherokee1101
Clayton1063
Taylor1000
Winneshiek971
Iowa971
Page950
Monona910
Kossuth900
Mills890
Palo Alto880
Jefferson870
Calhoun862
Winnebago860
Sac860
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Cass791
Union781
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Appanoose513
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Van Buren361
Ida310
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Unassigned10
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