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    Hurricane Michael battered Florida's Panhandle on Wednesday, bringing with it destructive 155 mph winds and life-threatening storm surge. >> Hurricane Michael: Latest updates Its winds ripped apart homes, and feet of storm surge left homes underwater. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: Get the latest live updates on Hurricane Michael in Florida here. >> On WSBTV.com: Get the latest live updates on Hurricane Michael in Georgia here. Photos and video from the Panama City area show the path of destruction left behind by the near-Category 5 storm. >> Read more trending news  Check them out below:
  • President Donald Trump is likely to visit storm-ravaged areas of Florida and Georgia hit by Hurricane Michael early next week, White House officials told reporters aboard Air Force One on Wednesday. >> Hurricane Michael: Latest updates The president spoke with Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey during the flight to receive updates on the storm, which barreled into Florida on Wednesday and pounded parts of south and middle Georgia with rain and wind. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: Get the latest live updates on Hurricane Michael in Florida here. >> On WSBTV.com: Get the latest live updates on Hurricane Michael in Georgia here. The White House said Trump “offered any federal resources necessary and continues to receive regular updates.” >> Read more trending news  Read more here.
  • Even as the storm still rages, Hurricane Michael is already making its mark on history. >> Watch the news report here Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday on the Florida Panhandle with winds of 155 miles per hour. A hurricane reaches Category 5 status when winds reach 157 miles per hour. >> Hurricane Michael: Latest updates Only a few storms have made landfall in the United States stronger than Hurricane Michael. Only three Category 5 storms have ever hit the continental United States; Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3, was not one of them. Before meteorologists and weather experts named storms, a Category 5 hurricane hit the Florida Keys on Labor Day 1935. That storm holds the record with winds of a staggering 185 miles per hour. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: Get the latest live updates on Hurricane Michael in Florida here. The second-worst storm to hit the continental U.S. was Hurricane Camille, which hit far western Mississippi in 1969 as a Category 5 storm. The third-worst storm on the list is one still fresh in the minds of many Floridians: Hurricane Andrew, which hit South Florida in August 1992. The storm tore through Homestead as a Category 5 with winds peaking at 165 miles per hour. >> On WSBTV.com: Get the latest live updates on Hurricane Michael in Georgia here. That brings us to the present with Hurricane Michael, which is now the fourth-strongest hurricane in U.S. history. When it comes to hurricanes that hit Florida’s Panhandle, Michael’s wind speed at landfall surpassed Hurricane Opal, which was the previous record holder. Opal made landfall near Pensacola as a Category 3 in 1995. Nine people died in Hurricane Opal, and the damage totaled more than $4.7 billion. >> Read more trending news  Michael is stronger still than Hurricane Irma when it slammed into the Keys in 2017 with winds of 130 miles per hour – and Michael’s winds are three times stronger than what Central Florida experienced from Irma. One comparison that will resonate with people is to last year’s “M” hurricane, Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico and killed thousands. Maria made landfall over southeast Puerto Rico with winds of 155 miles per hour – the same intensity as Michael when it hit Mexico Beach, Florida, on Wednesday, though the eye of Maria was slightly larger, which allowed for more widespread damage.
  • Ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Michael, thousands of people on the Florida Panhandle are heeding the warning to prepare for the worst or get out. >> Get the latest live updates on Hurricane Michael in Florida here. >> Get the latest live updates on Hurricane Michael in Georgia here. Photos on social media show deserted store shelves, stacked sandbags, busy evacuation routes, and ominous clouds closing in on the coast. >> Read more trending news  Check out some of the posts below:
  • Delta Air Lines is warning flights in Florida and Alabama could be disrupted by Hurricane Michael. >> Hurricane Michael: Live updates Atlanta-based Delta said flights to, from or through Florida's Fort Walton Beach, Panama City, Pensacola and Tallahassee, as well as Mobile, Alabama, could be affected by the hurricane. Delta passengers with flights booked to, from or through those cities on Tuesday or Wednesday can change their itineraries to avoid the storm without paying certain change fees. >> On AJC.com: Delta caps some air fares due to Hurricane Michael The airline said it is monitoring the storm, which is predicted to move through south Georgia and the Carolinas “by mid-week into Friday as the storm weakens,” according to the carrier. Meanwhile, Dallas-based Southwest warned that flights could be disrupted in Atlanta through Friday. Flights also could be disrupted through Tuesday in Cancun, Mexico, and Havana, Cuba; and from Tuesday through Thursday in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Panama City and Pensacola, Florida, according to Southwest.  >> Read more trending news  Flights may be delayed, diverted or canceled, the airline said. Southwest said customers who have flights booked to, from or through those cities on those dates can rebook without paying an additional charge, under certain restrictions.
  • Hurricanes can leave behind tons of damage, including flooding. But did you know that treading through the wrong kind of water can cause illnesses or even death? Floodwaters and standing water are often contaminated, posing several risks, such as infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries. Here are six sicknesses you should beware of in the aftermath: Diarrheal diseases Drinking or eating anything that has come in contact with floodwaters can lead to cryptosporidiosis, E. coli or giardiasis. While cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis are brought on by parasites, E. coli is caused by bacteria. Symptoms from each include diarrhea, gas, nausea and vomiting. Cryptosporidiosis, however, can even be fatal for those with weakened immune systems, such as AIDS or cancer.  Wound infections Open wounds and rashes that are exposed to floodwater can cause tetanus or Vibrio vulnificus. Tetanus is a bacterial infection, and it can enter the body through breaks in the skin like a cut. >> 10 tips to stay safe when returning home after a natural disaster Vibrio vulnificus, another bacteria, can be contracted the same way. Many people become infected by consuming undercooked shellfish or exposing an injury to brackish or salt water. Other illnesses  People affected by flooded areas can also get trench foot. It occurs when your feet are wet for long periods of time. It can cause pain, swelling and numbness. >> Read more trending news  You should also be aware of chemical hazards from materials that may have spilled into the water. And be cautious of electrical hazards, since there are puddles that may be electrified due to fallen power lines. Curious about other diseases you can catch? Take a look at the full list at CDC’s official website. 
  • A Tennessee truck driver is being hailed as a hero after he rescued 64 shelter dogs and cats ahead of Hurricane Florence. >> On WSOCTV.com: Florence’s aftermath: The latest news from the Carolinas According to the Greenvale News, Tony Alsup, 51, from Greenback, Tennessee, drove a school bus to South Carolina last week as the deadly storm strengthened in the Atlantic. Once there, he stopped in Orangeburg, Georgetown, Dillon and North Myrtle Beach, picking up 53 dogs and 11 cats from area animal shelters. >> Read more trending news  “It’s so easy for people to adopt the small pets and the cuties and the cuddly,” Alsup, of Tony's Emergency Animal Rescue and Shelter, told the Greenvale News. “We take on the ones that deserve a chance even though they are big and a little ugly. But I love big dogs, and we find places for them.” Related: Hurricane Florence: Coast Guard rescues beagles by boatful in floodwater He drove them to a shelter in Foley, Alabama, which will distribute the animals to other shelters across the nation, the newspaper reported.  Saint Frances Animal Center in Georgetown praised Alsup in a Facebook post Tuesday. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  'It's all true,' the post said of Alsup, who also has saved animals from hurricane-hit Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida. 'Tony swooped in at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning to pick up our 'leftovers' – the dogs with blocky heads, the ones with heartworm. The ones no one else will ever take. And he got them to safety. Not the most conventional evacuation, but surely the one with the most heart.' >> See the post here Read more here.
  • Officials on Monday morning recovered the body of a 1-year-old boy who was swept away by floodwaters during the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. >> Read more trending news  Update 10:30 a.m. EDT Sept. 17: Sheriff’s deputies in Union County confirmed in a Facebook post Monday morning that searchers had found the body of Kaiden Lee-Welch. “Our thoughts and prayers (are with) the little boy’s family and all the search team members and law enforcement officers who helped in this matter,” deputies said. “Very sad situation.” >> Watch the news report here Original report: According to WSOC-TV, emergency personnel in Union County, North Carolina, responded Sunday night to a vehicle trapped in flooded water on Highway 218 at Richardson Creek near New Salem. An adult was rescued and taken to a hospital, but a child was missing, officials said. >> On WSOCTV.com: Tracking Florence: Live updates from the Carolinas The Union County Sheriff's Office identified the child as Kaiden Lee Welch in a Facebook post Monday morning. >> See the Facebook post here 'Detectives believe the child and his mother were traveling east on N.C. 218 going toward Wadesboro,' the post said. 'The mother drove around the barricades on N.C. 218 and continued traveling east until her vehicle encountered rushing water flowing across the road. Her vehicle left the roadway and came to rest amongst a group of trees. She managed to free herself and Kaiden, who was in a car seat, but lost her grip on him in the rushing water.' The post said search and rescue teams looked for Kaiden for several hours Sunday night but were unable to find him.
  • They were in the right place at the right time.  >> Watch the news report here >> On WSOCTV.com: Tracking Florence: Live updates from the Carolinas Reporter Chris Jose and photojournalist Brandon Bryant with Atlanta's WSB-TV, which is owned by Cox Media Group, have been in South Carolina covering what is now tropical depression Florence. The two are making their way to Fayetteville, North Carolina, to cover the flooding and damage left by the storm there.  >> On WSBTV.com: 3-month-old the latest death due to Florence. Here's what we know about the victims They were driving up Interstate 95 when they found the roadway flooded over around Latta, South Carolina.  Jose said they decided to take some of the back country roads to get around the flooding when they ran across a woman who was stuck inside her car, with floodwater rapidly rising up around it.  >> On WSBTV.com: Convoy of Care: Here's how you can help Hurricane Florence victims The two said the woman was yelling, 'Help me! Help me!” The area was under a tornado warning, adding to the already dangerous situation.  Knowing they had to do something, Jose said he drove their SUV as far as they could into the water without getting stuck and Bryant, wearing a pair of waders, got out into the water, which was about waist-deep. When Bryant got to the woman’s car, he found Barbara Flanagan inside, praying.  'It just pulled me in and I couldn’t stop it. I had my foot on the brake, but it wouldn’t stop,' Flanagan said.  >> On WSOCTV.com: Looters clean out Family Dollar amid storm damage Bryant said he told Flanagan he was going to open the door and that water was going to come flooding in, be she was going to be alright.  He got the door open and was able to grab the woman and help her out her car.  'I couldn't leave you out there,' Bryant told the woman. “My heart wouldn’t allow me.” >> On WSBTV.com: Disaster relief organization offering help as Florence moves through As they made their way through the floodwaters, Flanagan told Bryant she was from Georgia and was a worker with the USDA, who was responding to the area for storm relief.  She said some of her coworkers had taken the same route shortly before her and the road was clear.  >> Read more trending news  'Looks can be deceiving,' Flanagan told Jose. 'Don’t go through the water.' A man in a pickup truck pulled up behind the WSB-TV crew’s SUV and offered to help get the woman’s car out of the floodwater. The woman’s car was still able to run, despite the high water. 
  • As Hurricane Florence nears the U.S., the Category 2 storm already is causing heavy rain, strong winds, choppy waters and impressive waves along the Carolina coast. >> On WSOCTV.com: Tracking Hurricane Florence: Live updates from the Carolinas Want to see the impressive surf for yourself? Check out these four must-see livestreams: >> Read more trending news  1. Cape Fear, North Carolina 2. Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina 3. Carolina Beach, South Carolina 4. Outer Banks, North Carolina