Published: Wed, October 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Gathering strength, Hurricane Michael heads for Florida

Gathering strength, Hurricane Michael heads for Florida

Now, battling wind shear but emerging in the Gulf of Mexico, it's a strengthening hurricane, with winds up to 110 miles per hour as of 11 a.m. Tuesday.

MICHAEL THIS MORNING: Michael strengthened to a category two hurricane this morning with sustained winds of 100 miles per hour in the Gulf of Mexico.

A hurricane warning covered the Alabama-Florida border east to the Suwannee River. 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).

This storm presents a particularly unsafe situation for the Sunshine State, since computer models and official forecasts have trended toward a stronger hurricane.

Hurricane Michael will cross interior portions of Eastern North Carolina (S. of Oregon Inlet to Cape Hatteras) late Thursday through Friday morning.

Forecasters said they expect Hurricane Michael to strengthen into a major storm by the time it makes landfall along the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday. A hurricane watch is in effect from the Alabama-Florida border eastward to the Suwanee River, and tropical storm watches have been issued from the Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island and from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

Wakulla County issued a dire warning, saying it won't open any of its shelters - because they're safety-rated only for storms up to Category 2 strength, WFSU reports.

"As Hurricane Michael nears landfall, we are working with state and local officials in Florida to take all necessary precautions", Trump said Monday.

Storms can force the tide in or out, which means possible flooding, but a recent dry spell locally means the ground can withstand more rainfall, Orrock said. It's forecast to be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades, and it will send life-threatening surges of ocean water into coastal areas along the gulf.

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Hurricane Michael is headed straight for Florida's Panhandle and is expected to make landfall there sometime on Wednesday.

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

Michael wasn't quite done wreaking havoc in the Caribbean on Tuesday.

Hurricane Michael will be a major hurricane when it arrives at the Florida coast sometime Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center says.

As Michael moved over open water, energy companies halted almost one-fifth of Gulf of Mexico oil production and evacuated personnel from 10 platforms on Monday. He warned that storm surge could affect areas of Florida not in the storm's direct path. Forecasters warned that Michael could dump up to a foot of rain in western Cuba, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountain areas.

Scott declared a state of emergency in 35 counties along the Panhandle and Florida's Big Bend regions, mostly rural areas known for small tourist cities, beaches and wildlife reserves, and the state capital, Tallahassee. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said she feared widespread power outages and other problems would follow.

Michael was forecast to have the power to uproot trees, block roads and knock out power for days when it hits Florida.

The storm is expected to unleash coastal storm surges of up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) along Florida's Panhandle and dump as much as a foot (30 cm) of rain across Florida, Georgia and SC, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported.

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