Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Gathering strength, Hurricane Michael heads for Florida

Panovich: Hurricane Michael will bring heavy rain to the Carolinas LIVE RADAR: Tracking Hurricane Michael
Lisa Bryan | 10 October, 2018, 08:31

"Let me be clear, Hurricane Michael is a monstrous storm", Florida Gov. Rick Scott said during a media conference Tuesday morning.

Stronger sustained tropical-storm force winds would be confined to the coast or just off shore, maybe for Citrus County, if at all, says FOX 13's meteorologist Dave Osterberg.

Michael, which increased to a Category 1 hurricane midday Monday, will rapidly intensify over the next 24 to 36 hours, Orrock said.

He Scott declared a state of emergency for 35 Florida counties from the Panhandle to Tampa Bay, activated hundreds of Florida National Guard members and waived tolls to encourage those near the coast to evacuate inland.

"I haven't made up my mind yet, but I know some of my staff are going", said Dave Trepanier, owner of Firefly, a restaurant a block from the beach in Panama City, Bay County, an area where the hurricane is expected to come ashore.

"We can take quite a bit of rain, but the folks in the Carolinas can't right now", Orrock said.

As Hurricane Michael approaches the Gulf Coast, it is now being deemed a category 2 storm.

Residents of Florida's Panhandle frantically filled sandbags, boarded up homes and secured boats in harbours Monday as they anxiously awaited Hurricane Michael, which forecasters warned could smash into the northeast Gulf Coast as a unsafe major hurricane within days. The National Hurricane Center has enacted hurricane, tropical storm, and storm surge warnings for more than 300 miles of the Florida coast.

"You can not hide from storm surge", Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned at a news conference Tuesday.


The Florida Disaster website on October 9 said that parts or all of Bay County, Citrus County, Franklin County, Dixie County, Gulf County, Jackson County, Levy County, Okaloosa County, Taylor County, Wakulla County, and Walton County have been issued mandatory evacuation orders.

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. NWS added that heavy rainfall from Hurricane Michael could produce life-threatening flash flooding from the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region into portions of Georgia, the Carolinas and southeast Virginia. "This storm will be life-threatening and really unsafe". There is also little chance that the storm's path will shift majorly east or west, based on the latest models.

The Republican governor, who is campaigning for a US Senate seat in the November congressional elections, warned of the potential for a deadly storm surge that could be as much as 12 feet (3.7 meters) above normal sea water levels.

Scott has declared a state of emergency in 35 counties in Florida.

"We've practiced this many times".

Lines at gasoline stations were growing long in Panama City as people prepared to leave areas under mandatory evacuation, Trepanier said. Many filled sandbags and boarded up homes and lined up to buy gas and groceries before leaving town.

"Since 6:00 am it's been backed up".

Hurricane Michael suddenly became news on Monday after eclipsing its former tropical-storm status while lashing Cuba.

In Alabama, where residents may see massive power outages, high winds and heavy rain, Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency statewide. It is expected to weaken as it moves up into the southeastern United States.

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