If Hurricane Florence was a slow-motion train wreck, Hurricane Michael is a 4-ton wrecking ball.
As Florence made its way toward the coast of the Carolinas last month, it weakened from a Category 4 to a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 90 mph. It gradually slowed to a sluggish pace of 5 mph.
Experts warned of significant damage along the coast, but stressed that the bigger threat was “catastrophic flash flooding.” After making landfall near Wilmington, North Carolina, on Sept. 14, Florence stalled, dumping as much as 35 inches of rain in some areas over the course of several days. Large portions of North and South Carolina experienced devastating flooding. At least 51 people were killed.
Michael has proven itself a very different beast. Fueled in part by above-average water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, the storm rapidly intensified at the start of this week. It strengthened from a tropical storm on Sunday to a Category 1 hurricane with 75-mph winds on Monday.