"Extremely Dangerous" Hurricane Michael Rumbles Towards Florida Coast

Michele Stevens
October 10, 2018

A fast and furious Hurricane Michael sped toward the Florida Panhandle on Tuesday night with 130 miles per hour winds and a potential storm surge of 13 feet, giving tens of thousands of people precious little time to get out or board up.

Michael threatens to become the most the most intense hurricane to hit the Florida panhandle since 1851, according to Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University.

A storm surge of up to 13 feet (four meters) is expected in some areas, the center said. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (72 kilometers) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (281 kilometers).

The agency warned residents in Florida and Alabama of possible storm surges, high winds and flash flooding. Coastal counties began issuing evacuation orders and opening emergency shelters at schools on Sunday, as member station WFSU reports.

While Florence took five days between the time it turned into a hurricane and the moment it rolled into the Carolinas, Michael gave Florida what amounted to two days' notice.

He said: "I know people are worn out from Florence, but don't let this storm catch you with your guard down".

State officials say prepare now and have a hurricane kit on hand.

- The storm is expected to move further inland later in the week, potentially bringing rain and heavy wind to portions of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. Scott extended a state of emergency to 35 counties and activated 2,500 National Guardsmen.

"The storm surge is absolutely deadly".

"Don't think that you can ride this out if you're in a low-lying area", Nelson said on CNN.


"If this trend continues overnight, people in the Florida Panhandle could wake up to having a Category 4 hurricane on their doorstep", senior NHC hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart said during a live webcast.

With a number of counties ordering evacuations, Scott waived highway tolls in the northwest part of the state.

President Donald Trump approved a pre-landfall emergency declaration to provide federal money and help in Florida.

For residents who want to leave, local authorities are stressing timely evacuation, too.

Again, if this wasn't made clear enough this storm is coming and you need to get out of its way.

Both Peaton and Scott encourage residents to have at least three days' worth of food and supplies and to check on their neighbors and monitor local news coverage.

The last major hurricane to hit the Panhandle was Hurricane Dennis in 2005, according to hurricane center data.

Both NOAA and Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft have flown through the hurricane's four quadrants - and the NHC says, "The planes actually passed through the eye around the same time [Tuesday morning], and reported that they could see one another".

Florida Fish and Wildlife has put 40 additional law enforcement officers on notice to deploy with a variety of special equipment, including boats that can be used for high-water rescues. NHC Director Ken Graham said Michael represented a "textbook case" of a hurricane system that may grow stronger as it draws near shore, in contrast to Hurricane Florence, which struck North Carolina last month after a slow, halting approach and weakening before landfall.

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