Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Residents Prepare to Evacuate as Hurricane Michael Heads Toward Florida Panhandle

Panovich: Hurricane Michael will bring heavy rain to the Carolinas JUST IN: Tropical Storm Nadine forms, Michael wind speeds up to 110 mph
Andrew Wong | 10 October, 2018, 09:50

The system has now graduated to Category 2 hurricane status and is expected to reach Category 3 (with winds in excess of 110 mph) when it makes its US mainland landfall on Wednesday afternoon.

The storm is about 270 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida, and moving north at 12 mph.

Although Michael will produce heavy rain showers, the storm's accelerating forward movement should allow those downpours to move through and not over-saturate most areas. Landfall is expected Wednesday on Florida's northeast Gulf Coast.

The storm became a category 1 hurricane on Monday, and could be a category 2 or 3 storm by the time it hits Florida. "We're going to get storm surge, we have wind, we have a chance of flooding, we have a significant chance of tornadoes". Winds will be less than 20 miles per hour for the northern half of the state as the main impact comes across southeast Alabama.

By 11 a.m., Michael had winds of 110 miles per hour, just below a major Category 3 hurricane, and was getting stronger, drawing energy from Gulf waters with temperatures in the mid-80s. Jacksonville will experience tropical downpours and storms by Wednesday evening as the system makes landfall.

On Monday and Tuesday, the storm has taken advantage of low wind shear-allowing it to maintain a tight circulation and organized vertical structure-as well as warm, late-summer waters in the Gulf of Mexico to intensify.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum says the rapid rise of Hurricane Michael led city officials to hold a "sobering" discussion about the potential impact the storm will have on the area.

If you live in the region Hurricane Michael will be passing through, you can check the latest forecasts and warnings at NOAA's National Hurricane Center.

Panovich: Hurricane Michael will bring heavy rain to the Carolinas

"This storm has the potential to be a historic storm, please take heed", the sheriff's office said in the post. In southeastern North Carolina, where residents are still recovering from Hurricane Florence, up to 4 inches of rain is forecast.

Landfall is forecast tomorrow on the Florida coast near or just east of Panama City Beach.

Alabama is under a state-wide state of emergency ahead of the hurricane, along with 92 counties in southern Georgia and 35 counties in Florida.

In Volusia County, emergency management director Jim Judge said residents are looking at "breezy conditions, some rain and potentially a couple of good gusts through the squalls". A hurricane watch is in effect from the Alabama-Florida border eastward to the Suwanee River, and tropical storm watches have been issued from the Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island and from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

Mandatory evacuation orders went into effect on Tuesday morning (Wednesday NZT) for some 120,000 people in Panama City Beach and across other low-lying parts of the coast. The National Hurricane Center has enacted hurricane, tropical storm, and storm surge warnings for more than 300 miles of the Florida coast.

Scott declared a state of emergency for 35 counties and said he was seeking a federal disaster declaration from President Donald Trump, who promised full support.

In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal declared a preemptive state of emergency for 92 counties.

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