Residents Prepare to Evacuate as Hurricane Michael Heads Toward Florida Panhandle

Hurricane Michael broke and uprooted trees and downed power lines

Storm surge could reach heights of 6 feet to 9 feet from the Okaloosa-Walton County line to Mexico Beach and from Keaton Beach to Cedar Key.

Storm surge watches and warnings were issued for much of the coast north and east of the Gulf of Mexico.

Long, the head of FEMA, said many Florida buildings were not built to withstand a storm above the strength of a Category 3 hurricane on the five-level Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Gov Scott warned that he may order more evacuations due to the size of the potential storm surge. "It will be life-threatening and extremely risky".

This storm has the potential to be a historic storm, please take heed.
Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

Tropical storm conditions are expected in the warning area along the southeast US coast by Wednesday, and possible in the watch area by late Wednesday.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said early Thursday that the eye of Michael was about 90 miles (144 kilometres) northeast of Macon, Georgia and about 45 miles (72 kilometres) west of Augusta.

The National

Some additional strengthening is expected, and Michael is forecast to be a major hurricane at landfall in Florida.

Michael is a Category 2 storm, with sustained wind speeds of nearly 100 miles per hour (155 km/h), according to NOAA.

Hurricane Michael - a monster storm that literally came out of nowhere - is now a category three hurricane threatening to do massive damage to the American mainland.

Michael, whose rapid intensification as it churned north over the Gulf of Mexico caught many by surprise, made landfall early in the afternoon near Mexico Beach, about 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Panama City in Florida's Panhandle region, with top sustained winds reaching 155 miles per hour (249 kph). The storm's center is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area before moving northeastward across the Southeastern U.S. The minimum central pressure recently measured by the reconnaissance aircraft was 947 mb (27.97 inches). "Storm surge can occur before, during, or after the center of a storm passes through an area".

The most powerful hurricane on record to hit Florida's Panhandle left wide destruction and wasn't almost finished Thursday as it crossed Georgia toward the Carolinas, still reeling from epic flooding in Hurricane Florence.

Petro says the problems with Michael will be compounded since the storm is coming just weeks after Hurricane Florence. "I didn't expect all this", said Bill Manning, 63, a grocery clerk who fled his camper van in Panama City for safer quarters in a hotel, only to see the electricity there go out. Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area by Wednesday. Storms with cloud top temperatures that cold have the capability to produce heavy rainfall. Forecasters said it will unleash damaging wind and rain all the way into the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence's epic flooding. There is a small chance they could swipe the eastern edge of Southern New England on Friday morning.

The NHC warned that both could trigger deadly flooding and that residents within the hurricane warning zone should also "prepare for life-threatening winds".

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