The rapid increase in Michael's force came because of a phenomenon that meteorologists call "rapid intensification", which the National Hurricane Center defines as an increase in sustained wind speeds of at least 35 miles per hour in one day.
Hurricane Michael blasted parts of Florida's Gulf coast with 155mph winds last night, threatening devastation in flood-prone communities and posing a critical pre-election test for the state's political leaders.
He said the storm would still have hurricane-force winds as it pushed through Florida into Georgia, and tropical storm-force winds when it reaches the Carolinas, which are still reeling from post-Florence flooding.
She said the incident was "debris-related".
A woman makes her way to an evacuation shelter in Tallahassee, Florida.
Helen Neal, 88, and her husband, J.W. Neal, 87, preferred to take their chances in a hotel rather than in their two-story beachfront house about a mile away in Panama City. It moved so fast that people didn't have much time to prepare, and emergency authorities lamented that many ignored the warnings and seemed to think they could ride it out.
Michael is likely to dump heavy rain over Florida, Alabama, Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas.
The three astronauts living on the International Space Station caught a terrifying glimpse of Hurricane Michael arriving on the western coast of Florida earlier today (Oct. 10).
As the Category 4 storm's center crossed nearby, Mulligan said, the concrete building shook and vibrated against sustained winds around 155 miles per hour.
"We thought the windows were going to break at the time".
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The National Hurricane Center forecasted that a few areas could see up to a foot of rain.
Timothy Thomas, a resident of Panama City Beach, made a decision to ride out the storm with his wife in their second-floor apartment.
The National Weather Service office in the state capital Tallahassee issued a dramatic appeal for people to comply with evacuation orders.
A water-level station in Apalachicola, close to where Michael came ashore, reported a surge of almost 8 feet (2.5 meters).
Previous year saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Harvey, which caused a record-equaling $125 billion (USD) in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area.
President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida, freeing up federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses.
Up to 12 inches of rain could fall in Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend areas, as well as southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia.
Following is a list of the world's five most deadly hurricanes.
The storm is also expected to batter North and SC both still recovering from Hurricane Florence, which left dozens dead and caused billions of dollars in damage last month.
Without power, the city was plunged into darkness at nightfall and its flooded streets were mostly silent and devoid of people or traffic. More than 200 people were killed. A pine tree punched a hole in their roof and his ears even popped when the barometric pressure went lower.