At least 2 dead after most powerful storm to hit US in 50 years tears through Florida

(ABC)- At least two people have died as a result of Hurricane Michael, a ferocious Category 4 hurricane that made landfall Wednesday afternoon with winds peaking at 155 mph.

Michael is the strongest storm since Hurricane Camille in 1969 and the third-most-powerful on record to hit the U.S.

A broad swath of the Southeast is affected, with about 20 million people under either a warning or a watch for hurricane flooding or tornadoes, said ABC News contributor Tom Bossert, former Homeland Security adviser to President Donald Trump.

“Hurricane Michael is the worst storm that the Florida Panhandle has ever seen,” Gov. Rick Scott said at a press conference Wednesday evening.

The storm’s first reported victim died in a “debris-related” incident in Greensboro, about 30 miles west of Tallahassee, Olivia Smith, public information for the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office, told ABC News.

An 11-year-old girl in Lake Seminole, Georgia, became the storm’s second victim. She was killed when part of a metal carport crashed into her family’s trailer and struck her in the head, according to Travis Brooks, director of Seminole County’s Emergency Management Agency.

“Complete and total devastation,” Brooks told ABC News. The entire county is “pitch black.” No roads are clear, and it’s hard to reach people who may need emergency services.

As of early Thursday, parts of Virginia and North Carolina were expecting as much as 9 inches of rain. Tornadoes in those regions are still possible.

After making landfall, the storm tore through northwest Florida. By 4 p.m., Michael still had extreme winds of 140 mph as it moved toward southwest Georgia. The eye of the storm was moving through southwestern Georgia around 6 p.m.

Early Thursday, Michael, now a tropical storm, was abut 30 miles south-southwest of Macon, Georgia, with winds of about 70 mph. It was proceeding northeast at about 17 mph.

Although the storm system passed quickly through Florida, Scott urged people to continue to shelter due to forecasts predicting life-threatening storm surge and damaging winds would continue.

“The worst thing you can do now is act foolishly or put yourself and your family at danger,” Scott added.

More than 550,000 people were without power early Thursday, including almost 300,000 in Florida.

Tropical-storm conditions are forecast to spread across Georgia and the Carolinas overnight into Thursday.

ABC News

ABC News

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