Over its lifecycle, a hurricane can expend more energy than an atomic bomb, and what they leave in their wake can look like the aftermath of war.
Hurricane Michael, which hit the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm early Wednesday morning, is no exception. The storm is being described as historic and record-breaking—it's the strongest hurricane to ever strike the Gulf Coast of Florida. At least two people—one in Florida and one in Georgia—have been reported dead as a result of the storm as of Thursday.
Waves crash against a road in Havana, Cuba on Tuesday. In only three days, Michael intensified from a tropical storm to a category 4 hurricane.
PHOTOGRAPH BY RAMON ESPINOSA, AP
A deadly storm surge also accompanied the hurricane. In some parts of the coast, water rose as high as seven feet.
But it's the winds that distinguished Michael from other hurricanes that have recently struck the US At its peak, Michael had sustained winds of 249 kilometres per hour. Residents riding out the storm posted videos online showing large trees being uprooted from the ground and roofs being torn off homes.
Photos taken in Panama City, near where the eye of the storm passed, show proof of what historic storms are capable of leaving behind. Residents are finding homes without roofs and others completely in shambles. Uprooted trees, personal belongings, and building walls are strewn in streets.
Throughout the end of the week, Michael, a tropical storm as of Thursday morning, will move over the Carolinas and parts of Virginia, where it's expected to dump rain on a region still coping with the effects of last month's Hurricane Florence.