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Hurricane Michael Gains Strength, Takes Aim at North Florida
10 October 2018, 07:44 | Darnell Patrick
JUST IN: Tropical Storm Nadine forms, Michael wind speeds up to 110 mph
As Hurricane Michael's top winds reached 110 miles per hour Tuesday on its approach for a direct hit on the Florida Gulf Coast tourist community of Panama City Beach, the ultimate impact on inland portions of Alabama and Georgia, including the Columbus area, appeared to solidify.
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.
Florida's governor mobilized National Guard troops and thousands of Gulf Coast residents were ordered evacuated on Monday, two days before Hurricane Michael was forecast to slam ashore with life-threatening waves, winds and rains.
The NHC expects the center of Hurricane Michael to cross onto the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend Area on Wednesday. The worst storm surge is expected between Mexico Beach and Keaton Beach, where nine to 13 feet of inundation is possible, forecasters warned.
"Hurricane Michael is a monster storm and it keeps getting more unsafe", Florida Governor Rick Scott told a news conference on Tuesday. "On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico through tonight", the agency said.
Most gas stations in downtown Tallahassee are out of gas as Hurricane Michael approaches. We have already canceled several events, but no determination has been made on whether Friday's home soccer match will be affected at this time.
So the damage footprint of hurricane Michael will be very different and aside from the threat posed by a Category 3 landfall and storm surge the impacts inland from wind damage could be much more significant than seen with recent Florence. With Michael's winds projected to be even stronger, residents were urged to evacuate inland.
The speed of the storm - Michael was moving north at 12 miles per hour - gave many people a dwindling window of time to prepare or flee before the arrival of damaging wind, rain, and flooding. The storm is moving north at 12 miles per hour.
Hurricane Michael intensified into a Category 2 over warm Gulf of Mexico waters Tuesday amid fears it would strike Florida on Wednesday as an even stronger hurricane. Michael was now a category one hurricane.
Tropical storm warning issued for Midlands ahead of Hurricane Michael | News & Observer
Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 35 counties along Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend regions.
Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan warned residents during a news conference Monday evening that first responders won't be able to reach them during the storm or immediately after.
"I know people are worn out from Florence, but don't let this storm catch you with your guard down", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said, adding, "A number of homes have rooftop tarps that could be damaged or blown away with this wind".
The hurricane, now off Cuba's western tip, is expected to make landfall on the Florida panhandle and affect portions of southern Alabama.
By late Tuesday, Michael was causing major disruptions to US oil and gas production as it churned north, gathering greater strength over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
The threat of rising water prompted Pasco County emergency officials to recommend voluntary evacuations for residents west of US 19 vulnerable to potential storm surge, special needs residents and anyone in low-lying areas.
The storm was located about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of Cuba's western tip and 520 miles (837 kilometers) south of Apalachicola, Florida.
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