Strengthening hurricane closes in on Florida Panhandle

10 October, 2018, 08:29 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • Panovich: Hurricane Michael will bring heavy rain to the Carolinas

Hurricane Michael has been upgraded to a Category 3 major hurricane as of the National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. Tuesday advisory.

Hurricane Michael swiftly intensified into a Category 2 over warm Gulf of Mexico waters Tuesday amid fears it would strike Florida on Wednesday as a major hurricane.

A hurricane warning has been issued for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio and tropical storm warnings are in effect for the Cuban province of Isle of Youth and the Mexican coast from Tulum to Cabo Catoche. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 40 miles (64 kilometers) from the core and tropical-storm-force winds out 195 miles (313.81 kilometers).

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

In all likelihood, destruction on that scale won't happen, but the most recent major storm, Hurricane Florence, caused $38 billion of damage, mostly in North Carolina and extended into SC and Virginia.

Alexander Charnicharo fishes at the seafront in Havana as Hurricane Michael passes by western Cuba on October 8, 2018.

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.

"As Hurricane Michael nears landfall, we are working with state and local officials in Florida to take all necessary precautions", Trump said Monday. The worst storm surge is expected between Mexico Beach and Keaton Beach, where nine to 13 feet of inundation is possible, forecasters warned.

The forecast for Hurricane Michael changed little overnight with the National Hurricane Center having it make landfall between Fort Walton Beach and the Big Bend region tomorrow.

Panovich: Hurricane Michael will bring heavy rain to the Carolinas
Tropical storm warning issued for Midlands ahead of Hurricane Michael | News & Observer

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is also the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the November 6 elections, said on Sunday he was cancelling his campaign events and returning to Tallahassee to focus on storm preparations.

He said: "We don't know if it's going to wipe out our house or not". "Take care of them", Scott said.

5pm ET Tuesday forecast track for Hurricane Michael.

A storm surge warning is in effect from the Okaloosa-Walton County line to the Anclote River in Florida.

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.

Then, as the storm crosses over the Southeast U.S. on Wednesday evening and Thursday, it will weaken. According to the hurricane center, hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center of Michael, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles.

Michael is forecast to produce life-threatening flash flooding from the Panhandle and Big Bend through portions of the Carolinas through Thursday, with 10 inches of rain forecast across parts of the Panhandle.

Mandatory evacuations were under way in coastal areas, with 1,250 National Guard soldiers aiding the process and more than 4,000 troops placed on standby, according to the governor's office.

Roads could be blocked, trees uprooted and power cut for days in what could be the strongest storm seen in the region since Hurricane Dennis in 2005.

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