Gathering strength, Hurricane Michael heads for Florida

10 October, 2018, 03:32 | Author: Katrina Soto
  • An aerial view of the destruction

On its current track, Michael will move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico throughout Tuesday and then move inland over the Panhandle or Big Bend area of Florida on Wednesday, according to the hurricane center.

As of 2 p.m. EDT, Michael was moving north at 12 mph, about 310 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph.

The risk of life-threatening storm surge, heavy rainfall, and unsafe winds are increasing for the northeastern Gulf Coast. Heavy rain could trigger the same kind of unsafe flash flooding in the Big Bend, Panhandle, Georgia and SC, forecasters warned.

The worst storm surge is expected between Mexico Beach and Keaton Beach, where nine to 13 feet of inundation is possible, forecasters warned. Voluntary evacuations were ordered for Santa Rosa, Hernando, Leon and Liberty counties.

"Think about what we've seen before with storms like Hurricane Irma", he said.

A hurricane warning was in effect for the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River, with a hurricane watch in place from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

The governor warns that storm surge could be as high as 8-10 feet (2.4-3 meters) in some parts of the Panhandle and 2-4 feet (0.6-1.2 meters) in the Tampa Bay area.

Residents of Florida's Panhandle frantically filled sandbags, boarded up homes and secured boats Monday as they anxiously awaited Hurricane Michael, which forecasters warned could smash into the state's Gulf Coast as a unsafe major hurricane within days. The intensifying storm is likely to make landfall Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane, and conditions will begin to deteriorate Tuesday night.

Hurricane Michael has strengthened to a category two storm, with winds reaching in excess of 100mph (155km/h) as it barrels towards the Florida coast.

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Kemp said the bill totaled over $800 when she and her family fled Hurricane Irma's uncertain path past year.

Hurricane Michael is forecast to be one of the most destructive storms to come ashore in the Panhandle in decades, but the state's emergency management chief is accusing local officials of not sufficiently preparing for the storm. Needless to say, the storm will have serious consequences for Florida (and downstream states such as Georgia) during the remainder of this week. Forecasters warned of up to a foot (30 centimeters) of rain in western Cuba, triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountain areas.

The heaviest rain will tend to fall in areas that were missed by Florence and focused from the Florida Panhandle to southwestern and central Georgia to part of central SC.

With just a month to go before Election Day, Florida voters in evacuation zones also were given one more day to register to vote, once offices reopen after the storm.

If the National Hurricane Center wind forecast for Michael verifies, landfalling winds of 125mph would tie the hurricane with 1975's Eloise and an 1882 Pensacola hurricane for the most intense storms to strike the Panhandle on record.

Tolls were suspended in order to help people evacuate.

Although Michael's core is just 375 miles west of Fort Lauderdale, that's far enough to buffer us from the hurricane. He added, "Today it is about life and safety".

In addition to several low-lying areas in the Panhandle, states of emergency have been declared for 92 counties across Georgia, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida's Democratic nominee for governor, filled sandbags with residents and urged the state capital's residents to finish emergency preparations quickly.



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