Unscathed by Hurricane Michael, Lake City friends test their luck

The National Hurricane Center reported maximum sustained winds near 150 miles per hour with the potential to bring risky storm surge and heavy rains to the Florida panhandle area.

Michael benefited from deep pockets of warm water in the Gulf, which meant that even as the storm stirred the water it crossed, it wasn't churning up cool water that could sap its strength, said Bryan Norcross, a hurricane specialist with WPLG, a TV station in South Florida.

Strong winds and rain did hit in Columbia County, but some people living in Lake City told News4Jax they feel like they lucked out, considering the damage from Michael could have been worse.

O'Shaughnessy said 2,216 active duty personnel had been pre-positioned ahead of the storm, along with 32 helicopters, 240 high-water vehicles and 32 swift water boats. "We didn't think it was going to be this bad".

Ricketts called for Michael to be a tropical depression, or a post-tropical depression, by the time it gets to the WTOP listening area, and to be pushed off the coast of Virginia by the cold front.

- Lingering Tropical Storm Leslie became a hurricane again late Tuesday and remained a minimal hurricane early Wednesday with maximum winds of 75 miles per hour.

This is preferred by Klotzbach, who explains that it is more precise for historical comparisons because it is measured precisely by an airplane flying in the middle of the storm's eye, whereas "wind is going to be different everywhere along the hurricane". "I didn't expect all this", said Bill Manning, 63, a grocery clerk who left his camper van in Panama City to move into a hotel where the power eventually went out.

Hurricane Michael's trail of devastation is starting to become apparent.

A child was killed in Seminole County, Georgia during the storm, emergency management officials said. "You know, that's hard", she said, choking back tears.

Residents and tourists were told to flee low-lying areas in at least 22 counties along the shore in Florida's Panhandle and adjacent Big Bend region.

President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration for Florida, freeing up federal funds for relief operations and providing the assistance of FEMA, which has more than 3,000 people on the ground.

"That's what happened with Hurricane Andrew - [the National Hurricane Center] looked at the pressure and reanalyzed and upgraded it to a Category 5 storm". Some of those areas are still working to recover from Hurricane Florence. The most likely cause for such sudden changes? Neighborhood streets flooded as waves battered the shoreline.

The deadliest hurricane on record cost the lives of about 20,000 people, with most of the damage and fatalities occurring in Barbados and surrounding islands. It was heading north-northeast at 14 miles per hour (22 kph) with maximum sustained winds down to 150 miles per hour, the hurricane center said.

In the case of Michael the damage will be mainly from wind rather than rain.