Seven of the Most Devastating Hurricane Michael Photos You'll Ever See

Michael barrelled across the southern USA on Wednesday (Oct. 10), beginning the day as a Category 4 hurricane and rapidly losing wind strength as it traveled.

Michael was blamed for at least one death and knocked out power to almost a half million after crashing ashore.

According to Climate Central, a scientific research organization, the coming decades are expected to bring hurricanes that intensify more rapidly, should there be no change in the rate of greenhouse gas emissions.

What is the death toll?

But after the storm passed, she emerged to check on the café she manages and discovered a scene of breathtaking destruction.

Total damages from storm surge are estimated to be $3.7 billion, of which about ten percent will be insured. Downed power lines and other debris slowed emergency crews as they tried to respond to the call.

Although weaker as it pushed over the southeastern United States, the storm carried high winds and delivered drenching rains to Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. The debris was a problem in many coastal communities and still hundreds of thousands of people were also left without power.

As a result, it will likely be some weeks before a true level of exposure for insurance, reinsurance and ILS interests is understood, as is typical with most hurricane events.

"Absolutely catastrophic! You will not believe your eyes when you see it".

This is one of the benefits of a diversified global reinsurance market, that means even storms as severe as hurricane Michael can see their losses spread around the globe, making the impacts more manageable and not retained regionally.

Large parts of Florida have suffered "unimaginable destruction" after the third-strongest hurricane in U.S. history slammed into the sunshine state. "Insurers with the largest market shares in US states to be hit by Hurricane Michael have considerable exposures, but these are manageable given each company's overall policyholder surplus".

Reuters news agency reports that Michael is the third-most powerful storm ever to make landfall in the mainland U.S., after Hurricane Camille in MS in 1969 and the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 in Florida. Accuweather predicted Michael's total damage and economic impact will reach close to $30 billion, which would make it one of the 10 costliest hurricanes in USA history.

The storm made landfall on Wednesday afternoon near Mexico Beach, about 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Panama City. His office said he would tour the devastated areas next week.

"We are in new territory", Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook.

It was also the first major hurricane (Category 3 or above) to strike the Florida Panhandle since Hurricane Dennis in 2005.

The storm is likely to fire up the debate over global warming. But without extensive study, they can not directly link a single weather event to the changing climate.

By late Wednesday, the storm had moved toward Georgia. She was safe until a carport came crashing through the roof. Homes were split open by fallen trees. Among the dead is an 11-year-old Georgia girl, officials said. "We still haven't gotten into some of the hardest-hit areas". "She's my baby", a distraught O'Brien said, her face wet with tears.

  • Valerie Cook