Hurricane Michael gains strength, takes aim at north Florida

Cesar Mills
October 12, 2018

"Hurricane Michael is a monstrous storm, and the forecast keeps getting more risky", Gov. Rick Scott said at a morning news conference.

Tens of thousands of Floridians were warned on Tuesday to get out of harm's way as Hurricane Michael churned over the Gulf of Mexico toward the northwestern part of the state, bringing fierce winds, torrential rain and life-threatening coastal floods.

Mandatory evacuation orders went into effect Tuesday morning for some 120,000 people in Panama City Beach and across other low-lying parts of the coast as Hurricane Michael approaches.

Authorities told residents and tourists in at least 20 Florida counties to evacuate coastal areas along the 200-mile (322 km) long Panhandle and adjacent Big Bend region.

The storm - now located over the Gulf of Mexico - is sweeping toward the Florida coast at around 12 miles per hour and is expected to make landfall on Wednesday, bringing with it "life-threatening" storm surges and heavy rainfall, the National Hurricane Centre said.

In North Carolina, still reeling from the destruction of Hurricane Florence last month, Gov. Roy Cooper warned that Michael could bring moderate storm surge, downed trees and power outages to his sodden state.

Unlike Florence, the storm is expected to move through the state quickly, leaving conditions to improve on Friday.

As Hurricane Irma stalked the Keys and the Southwest Coast past year, Scott shepherded the evacuation of more than 6 million residents, almost one-third of the state's population.

Bottomline - Petro says Eastern and Central Carolina need to take Hurricane Michael seriously.

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"If you're responsible for a patient, you're responsible for the patient".

"Think about what we've seen before with storms like Hurricane Irma", he said.

President Donald Trump, who was in Orlando delivering an address on Monday to a global association of police chiefs, said the federal government was ready and urged residents to be prepared for the worst.

"I feel like that they should've provided something", she said. Many filled sandbags, boarded up homes and lined up to buy gas and groceries.

At 5 a.m., the centre of the hurricane was bearing down on a stretch of the Florida Panhandle, still about 140 miles (225 kilometres) from Panama City and 130 miles (209 kilometres) from Apalachicola, but moving relatively fast at 13 mph (21 kph). Data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 125 miles per hour (205 km/h) with higher gusts. Please consult products from your local weather office.

Neighbors in Alabama - the entire state is under an emergency declaration - also were bracing.

Unlike with the powerful and deadly Hurricane Irma previous year that ran up the state, Scott has left evacuation orders to county officials. Forecasters are also predicting the possibility of spinoff tornadoes.

Wednesday Governor Cooper declared a "State of Emergency" and announced he has activate the National Guard. "This is the real thing, a significant threat to life and safety".

"There's nothing between us and this storm but warm water, and I think that's what terrifies us about the potential impacts", Gillum said.

Other reports by GizPress

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