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Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Hurricane Michael made landfall in Mexico Beach, Fla., as a high-end Category 4 storm early Wednesday afternoon, killing at least two people and causing catastrophic damage.

The big picture: It's the strongest such storm on record to hit the Florida Panhandle and one of the strongest ever to strike the continental U.S. — and it severely impacted Florida's electricity grid and oil production in the Gulf of Mexico.

  • It struck with the third-lowest atmospheric pressure of any storm ever to hit the continental U.S. (919 millibars), and was among the five strongest storms by sustained winds at landfall (155 mph).

Electricity losses: As of 6am this morning, there were 359,306 accounts without power, according to Florida state officials.

  • Per CNN, add that to losses in Georgia and Alabama, and the total number of customers without power is over 500,000.

Oil-and-gas: Evacuations of Gulf of Mexico oil-and-gas platforms led to 42% of Gulf oil production and 32% of gas production being shut-in as of midday yesterday, according to the Interior Department.

  • However, the storm path was east of most offshore energy infrastructure and, as S&P Global Platts noted, that production should be restored pretty fast.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.