As Hurricane Michael barreled through the Gulf of Mexico toward northwest Florida on Wednesday, dangerous storm surges had already begun flooding the state’s vulnerable coastal communities.
In St. Marks, roughly 20 miles south of Tallahassee, photos showed rising waters pouring into homes and businesses as early as Wednesday morning.
“Flooding underway already in St. Marks and it’s low tide,” tweeted NPR’s Miami correspondent Greg Allen. “And the hurricane is still hours away.”
Michael intensified to a Category 4 early Wednesday with winds of 155 mph, making it the most powerful storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in 100 years.
Life-threatening storm surges of up to 14 feet are expected in some areas, the National Weather Service warned Wednesday. “THIS IS A WORST CASE SCENARIO for the Florida Panhandle!!” the agency tweeted.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has urged anyone in an evacuation zone to leave immediately, calling the storm “monstrous” and “deadly.”
Check out the photos below to see the early devastation wrought by Michael: