Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Hurricane Michael strengthens, Florida braces for worst in decades

Panovich: Hurricane Michael will bring heavy rain to the Carolinas Hurricane Michael heads toward Florida Panhandle, 13 deaths in its wake
| 10 October, 2018, 09:46

Hurricane Michael has grown into a Category 3 hurricane, with sustained winds reaching 120 miles per hour, as it barrels toward northwestern Florida, making it a much stronger storm than Hurricane Florence was when it made landfall as a Category 1 storm drenching the Carolinas last month, according to the National Hurricane Center.

"We expect Hurricane Michael to make landfall between Panama City, Florida, and Apalachicola, Florida, sometime later Wednesday or Wednesday night", according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

"This storm can kill you", Scott said.

"Remember during a storm, first responders can not come out and save you in the middle of a storm".

Hurricane Michael was 390 miles south of Panama City, Fl., at 5 a.m. ET this morning, moving north-northwest at 12 mph with sustained winds of 90 mph.

Scott extended a state of emergency to 35 counties and activated 2,500 National Guardsmen for hurricane duty.

Gov. Rick Scott reiterated his warnings Monday evening during a news conference in Escambia County, encouraging residents along the coast to follow any evacuations orders as soon as possible.

Gulf County officials issued a mandatory evacuation for all of Cape San Blas, all of Indian Pass area, Simmons Bayou, Highland View, and Windmark.

"We are running out of time", Scott said in a post on Twitter. "This is game time", Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said. This is in contrast to recent major storms, such as Harvey in 2017 and Florence in 2018, which made landfall in the United States and then stalled out. The fix bill came in at more than $60 billion, ranking Irma among the most costly storms in US history. "As you get into the Big Bend area, this is going to be bad for those folks".


Drivers waited in long lines at gas stations and residents hurried to fill sandbags, while tolls were suspended on some roads to aid movement ahead of the storm's landfall.

The NHC forecasts 4 to 8 inches of rain for the Panhandle, southeast Alabama and southern Georgia.

Storm surge watches and warnings were issued for much of the coast north and east of the Gulf of Mexico.

In neighbouring Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey signed an emergency declaration for her entire state Monday in anticipation of widespread power outages, wind damage and heavy rain from the storm getting set to cross the eastern Gulf of Mexico in coming hours.

Hurricane Michael is gaining strength as it lashes Cuba's western tip and lumbers northward toward the U.S.

The WGNO weather team will continue to monitor the latest information on Hurricane Michael and will continue to bring you the latest updates on-air, online, and on social media. The hurricane warning also covers southwestern Georgia, including Albany.

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

"Michael could develop into a potentially catastrophic event for the northeastern Gulf coast", the National Weather Service office in Tallahassee wrote in Monday afternoon's forecast.

Florida's capital city of Tallahassee, which is in the Panhandle, opened two locations on Sunday where residents could get sandbags to prepare for flooding.

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