The category 4 hurricane Michael touched earth near Mexico Beach, in northwest Florida (USA), an area where there is a "deadly" storm surge and "catastrophic" winds, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported today.
In a special bulletin, the NHC indicated that the cyclone strengthened again and moves and maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour (250 km / h) and higher gusts, and heads north-northwest at 14 miles per hour (22 km / h).
For years, a hurricane like Michael has not reached the area of the "Panhandle" of Florida, which has been strengthening since it entered the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday and today reached the category 4 of the Saffir Simpson scale at dawn. , of a maximum of 5.
With maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, Michael was about to make landfall as a Category 5 hurricane, which would have been from winds of 157 mi / h (252 km / h).
The NHC meteorologists They asked the residents in the area not to go out in the street despite the "relative calm" that generates the passage of the eye of the hurricane, because the strong winds will reappear "quickly".
The governor of Florida, Rick Scott, promised that "as soon as Michael passes" there will be a "massive response" to support the Panhandle, with more than one "thousand specialists in search and rescue of people" and 3,500 National Guard troops of the state.
At the time the NHC issued the special bulletin, Michael was about 5 miles (10 km) from the town of Mexico Beach, which according to the census has 1,072 inhabitants.
Meteorologists indicate that, now that it touched down, the cyclone is expected to weaken as it crosses the southeast of the country, after a turn towards the northeast this afternoon or night and an increase in its speed of displacement.
Hurricane winds extend from the eye of the cyclone to 45 miles (75 km), while those of tropical storm force (less than 75 m / h or 1199 km / h) are felt up to 175 miles (280 km).
Along with strong winds and rains, which could accumulate up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) in some areas, which could cause flooding, the authorities' greatest concern is the rise in sea level.
Meteorologists forecast that sea level could rise to 14 feet (4.2 meters) in the region due to strong winds, storm surge and rising tide, scheduled for this afternoon.