Motilal Oswal
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Motilal Oswal
Oct 11, 2018 01:23 PM IST | Economy

The fury of Hurricane Michael

Hurricane Michael, the third-most powerful ever to strike the U.S. mainland, battered the Florida's Gulf coast with roof-shredding winds, raging surf and torrential rains before it was downgraded to a tropical storm as it headed through Georgia.

Michael, whose rapid intensification as it churned north over the Gulf of Mexico caught many by surprise, made landfall on Wednesday afternoon near Mexico Beach, about 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Panama City in Florida's Panhandle region, with top sustained winds reaching 155 miles per hour (249 kph).

The fiercest storm to hit Florida in 80 years came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson wind scale, the biggest storm on record to strike the Florida Panhandle. Its sustained winds were just 2 mph (3.2 kph) shy of an extremely rare Category 5.

The storm's intensity waned steadily as it pushed inland and curled northeasterly into Georgia. It was downgraded to a tropical storm, with top sustained winds diminishing to 60 miles per hour, early on Thursday.

Image Source: Reuters, Associated Press (AP)

Pine trees litter a yard in Port St. Joe, Fla., on Garrison Avenue on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle. Hurricane Michael formed off the coast of Cuba carrying major Category 4 landfall in the Florida Panhandle. Surge in the Big Bend area, along with catastrophic winds at 155mph. (Douglas R. Clifford/The Tampa Bay Times via AP)
Pine trees litter a yard in Port St. Joe, Fla., on Garrison Avenue on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle. Hurricane Michael formed off the coast of Cuba carrying major Category 4 landfall in the Florida Panhandle. Surge in the Big Bend area, along with catastrophic winds at 155mph. (Douglas R. Clifford/The Tampa Bay Times via AP)
Dorian Carter looks under furniture for a missing cat after several trees fell on their home during Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, October 10, 2018. Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 mph Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Dorian Carter looks under furniture for a missing cat after several trees fell on their home during Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, October 10, 2018. Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 mph Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Shredded trees, derailed train cars and a sunken trailer are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, October 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Shredded trees, derailed train cars and a sunken trailer are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, October 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Cornell Silveira, of Keaton Beach, Fla., leaves with some of his belongings as he evacuates his home as Hurricane Michael approaches the area Wednesday, October 10, 2018. Hurricane Michael continues to churn in the Gulf of Mexico heading for the Florida panhandle. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Cornell Silveira, of Keaton Beach, Fla., leaves with some of his belongings as he evacuates his home as Hurricane Michael approaches the area Wednesday, October 10, 2018. Hurricane Michael continues to churn in the Gulf of Mexico heading for the Florida panhandle. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
An unidentified person takes pictures of the surf and fishing pier on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, as Hurricane Michael approaches the Florida Gulf Coast. [Devon Ravine/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)
An unidentified person takes pictures of the surf and fishing pier on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, as Hurricane Michael approaches the Florida Gulf Coast. [Devon Ravine/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)
Heavy surf from the approaching Hurricane Michael pounds the fishing pier on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, October 10, 2018. (Devon Ravine/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)
Heavy surf from the approaching Hurricane Michael pounds the fishing pier on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, October 10, 2018. (Devon Ravine/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)
Earnest Sweet sits while his daughters Terri, 4, center, and Anna, 7, sleep at an evacuation shelter set up at Rutherford High School, in advance of Hurricane Michael. Wednesday, October 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Earnest Sweet sits while his daughters Terri, 4, center, and Anna, 7, sleep at an evacuation shelter set up at Rutherford High School, in advance of Hurricane Michael. Wednesday, October 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Emily Hindle lies on the floor at an evacuation shelter set up at Rutherford High School, in advance of Hurricane Michael. Wednesday, October 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Emily Hindle lies on the floor at an evacuation shelter set up at Rutherford High School, in advance of Hurricane Michael. Wednesday, October 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
This photo made available by NASA shows they eye of Hurricane Michael, as seen from the International Space Station on Wednesday, October 10, 2018. (NASA via AP)
This photo made available by NASA shows they eye of Hurricane Michael, as seen from the International Space Station on Wednesday, October 10, 2018. (NASA via AP)
A hotel canopy collapses onto vehicles during Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, October 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A hotel canopy collapses onto vehicles during Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, October 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
An electric transformer explodes in the distance as heavy rains and wind from Hurricane Michael blanket the Florida State University campus Wednesday, October 10, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
An electric transformer explodes in the distance as heavy rains and wind from Hurricane Michael blanket the Florida State University campus Wednesday, October 10, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Hurricane Michael formed off the coast of Cuba carrying major Category 4 landfall in the Florida Panhandle. Surge in the Big Bend area, along with catastrophic winds at 155 mph. The First Baptist Church of Port St Joe, Fla., was significantly damaged and water remains on the street near the church on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle (Douglas R. Clifford/The Tampa Bay Times via AP)
Hurricane Michael formed off the coast of Cuba carrying major Category 4 landfall in the Florida Panhandle. Surge in the Big Bend area, along with catastrophic winds at 155 mph. The First Baptist Church of Port St Joe, Fla., was significantly damaged and water remains on the street near the church on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle (Douglas R. Clifford/The Tampa Bay Times via AP)
A pier damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Panama City Beach, Florida, US. October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A pier damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Panama City Beach, Florida, US. October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
The top section of a high-rise apartment damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Panama City Beach, Florida, US. October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman 
The top section of a high-rise apartment damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Panama City Beach, Florida, US. October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman 
A man watches the sun set during Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach, Florida, US. October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A man watches the sun set during Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach, Florida, US. October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
Waves crash on stilt houses along the shore due to Hurricane Michael at Alligator Point in Franklin County, Florida, US. October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Steve Nesius
Waves crash on stilt houses along the shore due to Hurricane Michael at Alligator Point in Franklin County, Florida, US. October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Steve Nesius
A McDonald's sign damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Panama City Beach, Florida, US. October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A McDonald's sign damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Panama City Beach, Florida, US. October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
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