Hurricane Michael Strikes


Aubrey Miller, Staff

Hurricane Michael was formed on October 7th in the southeastern Caribbean Sea due to low pressure, and took over a week to form into hurricane. Michael’s impact traveled from the Florida Panhandle to the Carolinas. A category four major hurricane and the third most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall. It consisted of the strongest “maximum sustained wind speed” and was the fourth strongest landing-falling hurricane that has hit the nation. As the hurricane continued to sweep across the southeast, the country braced itself.

Before Michael was categorized as a hurricane, it hit Central America and Cuba as a severe storm. Central America experienced heavy flooding, causing fifteen casualties: eight in Honduras, four in Nicaragua, and three in El Salvador. More than 15,000 people were affected. The estimated cost of the damage is $100 million. 70% of Cubans living on the offshore island of Isla de la Juventud lost power and 200,651 Cubans living Punar de Rio lost power.

Mexico Beach, Florida was first to be hit on October 9th as a category four hurricane. The winds hit a maximum of 155 mph. Florida prepared themselves, and governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency and evacuated cities along the coast. Rescuers were called out to rescue those who stayed behind. Thousands of homes were flattened and destroyed. Businesses were forced to shut down for a period of time due to lack of water and power. Florida experienced 8 deaths on October 12th: four in Gadsden County, three in Marianna (Jackson County), and one in Mexico Beach.

The hurricane began to move towards Georgia with less force, but enough to cause destruction. Georgia experienced wind speeds of 115 mph. Georgia governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency, 375,000 people being requested to evacuate. Over 400,000 Georgians lost power. Tragedy struck even deeper when an  eleven-year-old girl died from a carport that hit her house. Georgia is expected to lose $1 billion in crop damage.

North Carolina and Virginia were next to be hit by hurricane Michael. On October 11th, 490,000 North Carolina Duke Energy customers experienced power loss. Three lives were lost in North Carolina in a car accident due to the storm, and six lives were lost in Virginia: two firefighters and four civilians. 600,000 Virginians lost power.

In Weddington, North Carolina, Union County Public Schools cancelled school on Thursday, October 11th and declared a two-hour delay on Friday, October 12th due to a Tropical Storm Warning. 11 schools experienced loss of power, 8 being able to retrieve power after a couple of hours.

A total of 33 lives were lost due to hurricane Michael, causing billions in destruction and pain. President Donald Trump authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to aid in disaster efforts and fund emergency action. Although hurricane Michael has already caused billions of dollars in damages, more hurricanes are expected to form this season due to a rise in sea levels.