News | Tech: Early videos of Hurricane Michael reveal the scale of the storm's destruction in the Florida Panhandle

Tech: Early videos of Hurricane Michael reveal the scale of the storm's destruction in the Florida Panhandle

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Hurricane Michael, the most powerful storm the US has seen in nearly 50 years, is moving through the Florida Panhandle, ripping apart homes and sending walls of water rushing inland.

The storm made landfall northwest of Mexico Beach around noon on Wednesday, with an eye so clear and wide it could easily be seen from space.

That strong, well-developed core makes for a very powerful, windy storm on land. Journalist Kirsten Fiscus was less than 25 miles away in Panama City when Michael's eye landed, and said she could smell the pine from snapped tree branches.

Richard Fausset of the New York Times was in the area too and said the winds were so intense, it felt like a California earthquake.

Outside, the Weather Channel's Jim Cantore narrowly missed getting slammed by a flying piece of wood.

Part of the reason Hurricane Michael became so strong and developed so quickly is that the waters of the Gulf of Mexico are much warmer right now than what's normal for October.

Up the coast in Pensacola, the water temperature is 82 degrees Fahrenheit — 8 degrees higher than normal for this time of year. Warmer water acts as fuel for a hurricane, helping it develop into a more destructive, windier storm.

Michael was forecast to bring storm surge up to 14 feet in some areas. Josh Benson, a news anchor at local station WFLA in Tampa Bay, shared a video taken by Tessa Talarico in Mexico Beach, Florida that showed the extreme flooding.

In Panama City Beach, a building that was still under construction didn't stand a chance against Michael. It quickly buckled under the pressure of the storm.

The hurricane also ripped the roofs off homes.

"Where homes were, they are not." ABC's Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee said in a video posted on Twitter. "It's really wild to see."

Benson of WFLA also posted this clip of the storm's winds picking up a porta potty and sending it flying across a parking lot:

Michael is making its way northeast towards Georgia and the Carolinas at about 14 mph. It's expected to gradually weaken over land. By Friday, it should be a post-tropical cyclone, according to the National Weather Service.

You can track the hurricane's progress using Google Crisis Map or check out live updates from this National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration camera in space.

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By Kwame Ntow 10/10/2018 16:41:00