Hurricane Michael Just Slammed Into Florida With 155-MPH Winds

The National Weather Service says it’s like an incoming tornado.

NOAA

Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, with 155 mph winds. About 375,000 people are under a mandatory evacuation, but it’s unclear how many people have left.

A rare extreme wind warning is in effect in parts of the Panhandle, and the National Weather Service is advising Floridians to treat the winds as they would treat an incoming tornado.

Houses are being destroyed in Mexico Beach.

Michael is easily bending large trees.

The wind isn’t the only aspect of the storm that has forecasters worried. A storm surge up to 14 feet could inundate the area and devastate local communities. 

As the storm moves inland, it’s also expected to impact parts of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Update, October 10, 6:40 p.m. ET: Experts say the storm surge could force red tide—a toxic algae bloom that’s been ravaging Florida’s coast in the past months—ashore and into coastal neighborhoods. Red tide can be deadly for marine mammals, fish, and sea turtles, and can cause respiratory problems for people, but it’s unclear what would happen if the bloom is pushed inland. “A storm surge or king tide could bring red tide up onto land,” Larry Brand, a professor in the Department of Marine Biology and Ecology at the University of Miami, told Bloomberg. “The toxin would get into the air and people would be breathing it.”