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First Death Reported as Hurricane Michael Devastates Florida Panhandle

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"The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no category four hurricane ever hitting the Florida Panhandle".

About 3,500 Florida National Guard troops were deployed to assist with evacuations and storm recovery, along with more than 1,000 search-and-rescue personnel, Governor Rick Scott said.

A spokesperson for the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office said the man was in his mid-40s and had been at home with his wife, who authorities are now trying to reach.

Hundreds of thousands of electricity customers were without power as of 6 p.m. ET Wednesday evening.

Human-caused greenhouse gases in the atmosphere create an energy imbalance, with more than 90% of remaining heat trapped by the gases going into the oceans, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association.

The storm came ashore as a category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson wind scale, before it was downgraded to a category 3.

Tyndall Air Force Base, situated on a peninsula just south of Panama City, said that it took a "direct hit" from Hurricane Michael, according to a post published on their Facebook page.

At least one man has been killed after a tree crashed through the roof of his Greenboro home and trapped him.

As of around 8pm, Michael was about 20 miles southwest of Albany, Georgia, with winds of 100 mph, becoming a category 1 storm.

In St. Marks, John Hargan and his family gathered up their pets and moved to a raised building constructed to withstand a Category 5 after water from the St. Marks River began surrounding their home.

Widespread power outages are expected to stretch from parts of the Florida panhandle up through Georgia as well as the Carolinas, but anyone within reach of the storm's rapid winds should be prepared to be without power at some point over the next few days. Michael is the fourth Category 4 hurricane to hit the U.S.in just 15 months, joining last year's trio of Harvey, Irma, and Maria - an unprecedented string of catastrophic hurricane disasters.

If Hurricane Florence was a slow-motion train wreck, Hurricane Michael is a 4-ton wrecking ball.

The storm had picked up steam as it sped across the Gulf of Mexico toward the Florida Panhandle.

Measured by barometric pressure, Michael ranks as the third-most-intense storm on record to make landfall in the USA, according to the National Weather Service.

"We are catching some hell", Timothy Thomas, who rode out the storm with his wife in their home in Panama City Beach, Florida, told the Associated Press news agency.

Hurricane Michael has killed one person in northern Florida - the first confirmed death from the powerful storm. The storm still was spinning in the open waters of the Central Atlantic on Wednesday.

Michael's minimum central pressure remained at 923 millibars in the most recent National Hurricane advisory as it moved north-northeast at 14 miles per hour. A pine tree punched a hole in their roof and he said the roar of the storm sounded like a jet engine as the winds accelerated.

Though wind speed is the basis for hurricane categories, central pressure is actually a better measure of damage that a hurricane will cause, a study published a year ago in the journal Nature Communications found. It is also the strongest hurricane to strike anywhere in Florida since Andrew in 1992.

As of 5 p.m. EDT, Michael is still a Category 3 major hurricane with its peak winds measuring 125 miles per hour. Its 249 kph (155 mph) winds blew sheets of rain sideways.

The evacuation order remains in effect until further notice.

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