Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses are without power after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle Wednesday afternoon, according to state officials.
Roughly 359,000 accounts are without power in Florida, public utilities in the state noted Wednesday night. That number balloons to more than half-a-million once numbers from Georgia are factored in.
Michael also killed a man in Florida and a girl in Georgia. The death toll could rise much higher once the officials navigate through the debris. Officials are using apocalyptic terms to describe the aftermath.
“It feels like a nightmare,” Mexico Beach Councilwoman Linda Albrecht told CNN Thursday following the landfall. “Somebody needs to come up and shake you and wake you up.”
The storm, which struck as a Category 4 before weakening to a Cat 3, is expected to drop 7 inches of rain from eastern Georgia to the southern mid-Atlantic, and up to nine inches of rain in parts of North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center said.
Michael sustained wind gusts of 155 mph upon arrival before weakening. It is also threatening to create a massive storm surge — up to 12 feet in parts of northwestern Florida. (RELATED: Rick Scott Issues Dire Warning Ahead Of Hurricane Michael)
The area’s energy producers also took a wallop.
Michael caused mass evacuations on oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly 42 percent of Gulf oil production and 32 percent of gas production was taken offline as a result, according to the Interior Department.
Energy companies were lucky to some extent. The storm passed east of most offshore energy infrastructure so whatever production was taken offline should be restored quickly, S&P Global Platts noted Thursday.
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