Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Hurricane Michael strengthens as thousands flee

Satellite view of hurricane over Atlantic Ocean Enlarge The center of Hurricane Michael passed near the western tip of Cuba on Monday
Faye Gross | 10 October, 2018, 07:42

Hurricane Michael continues to push towards the Gulf of Mexico and looks to continue its trend of rapidly strengthening. Hurricane Michael in the Caribbean could have also contributed. With Michael's winds projected to be even stronger, residents were urged to evacuate inland.

"Minimal impact" is a lousy title for an action film but a good prediction for a hurricane, and that's what Storm Team 4 meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts said was coming to the D.C. area. The strongest wind gusts associated with the storm are expected to impact areas along and south of Warrenton to Macon to the Columbus line.

"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face". As Michael nears landfall, we're sharing all you need to know about the impending storm.

In a Facebook post Monday, the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office said no shelters would be open because Wakulla County shelters were rated safe only for hurricanes with top sustained winds below 111 miles per hour.

"Hurricane Michael is forecast to be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades", Scott said.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 26 counties along the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the storm was expected to make landfall on Wednesday afternoon, bringing hurricane force winds, a "life-threatening storm surge" and heavy rainfall.

Michael was now packing winds of 120 miles per hour (195 kilometers per hour) as it aimed for the Florida panhandle, the finger-shaped strip of land on the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters said Michael's storm winds stretched 370 miles (595 kilometers) across, with hurricane-strength winds extending up to 35 miles (55 kilometers) from the center. "Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other risky conditions", the hurricane center said.

The governor activated 750 national guardsman for storm response on Monday, on top of the 500 activated the day before.

Panama City could see a storm surge at depths from 6 to 9 feet. Authorities were also searching for a boy swept away by a river in Guatemala.

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The storm's effects will be felt far from the eye of the hurricane.

"Dont think that you can ride this out if youre in a low-lying area", Nelson said on CNN.

Escambia County, Santa Rosa County, Pasco County, Madison County, Liberty County Leon County, Hernando County, Gadsden County, and Calhoun County are under voluntary or phased evacuation orders.

"Well just have to see what happens tonight, which way the weather goes", Hassen said.

"We are running out of time", Scott said in a post on Twitter.

The region should brace for "major infrastructure damage", specifically to electricity distribution, wastewater treatment systems and transportation networks, Jeff Byard, associate administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), told reporters on a conference call. "What you're going to do is push a whole bunch of water into this whole area which is very vulnerable to storm surge".

Peaton says he's working closely with the National Weather Service to provide accurate information and protective measures to his county, which faces the Gulf of Mexico and is especially vulnerable to any flooding produced by Michael.

Florida State University has closed through Friday and the Pensacola International Airport is set to close Wednesday.

Michael was about 360 miles south of Panama City, Fla., and 330 miles south of Apalachicola, Fla., the NHC said in an 10 a.m. advisory.

"I feel like that they should've provided something", she said.

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