Hurricane Michael strengthens to extremely dangerous Category 4 storm as it strikes Florida
Michael, which started as a tropical depression, was quickly upgraded to a named tropical storm by the US National Hurricane Center and strengthened as a potentially catastrophic
Hurricane Michael strengthened into a Category 4 storm as it roared down on the Florida Panhandle early Wednesday, already flooding certain regions like Apalachicola in Franklin County. The storm, which has been dubbed as extremely dangerous, is set to strike the state's fishing villages and coastal communities later in the day, according to reports.
Michael, which started as a tropical depression, was quickly upgraded to a named tropical storm by the US National Hurricane Center and strengthened as a potentially catastrophic hurricane by Tuesday.
Michael is set to become one of the Panhandle's worst hurricanes in memory by Wednesday noon, with heavy rainfall expected to lash the northeastern Gulf Coast and cause a life-threatening storm surge of up to 13 feet, according to the Huffington Post.
Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a state of emergency for 26 counties in the Florida Panhandle on Sunday and evacuation of thousands of residents was ordered on Monday. Florida officials said that nearly 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were ordered to evacuate the region. The evacuations reportedly spanned at least 22 counties from the Florida Panhandle into north central Florida.
We are closely monitoring couplets in #HurricaneMichael that may contain embedded tornadoes. Please pay attention to the latest warnings from our office and be ready to take action. #Michael #FLwx pic.twitter.com/lesYuxKux7— NWS Tallahassee (@NWSTallahassee) October 10, 2018
"Families under mandatory evacuation in the Panhandle and Big Bend need to move inland RIGHT NOW. The decisions you & your family make over the coming hours could be the difference between life & death," Governor Scott warned the residents on Twitter.
"THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE to evacuate before conditions start deteriorating within the next few hours. See current evacuation orders and open shelters here: http://floridadisaster.org/info/#alert," Scott added.
Meteorologists have expressed serious concerns over the impact Hurricane Michael could have on the state and have said that it has the potential of becoming one of the worst storms in Florida Panhandle's history.
Storm surge picture from this morning around 6:30am near Rock Landing Florida (near Panacea). Can't stress this enough, these impacts from the surge is only the beginning, it's going to get higher! #Surge #FLwx #HurricaneMichael pic.twitter.com/9JHSV6syhM— NWS Tallahassee (@NWSTallahassee) October 10, 2018
Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermoels.com, while talking to The Associated Press, said: "I guess it’s the worst case scenario. I don’t think anyone would have experienced this in the Panhandle. This is going to have structure damaging winds along the coast and hurricane force winds inland."
A former president of the American Meteorological Society, University of Georgia’s Marshall Shepherd, deemed the storm a "life-altering event" on Facebook and added that he had watched the storm grow in intensity on satellite images with a pit growing in his stomach.
FEMA Administrator Brock Long also released a statement saying that he has been in touch with President Donald Trump about the hurricane: "I've been speaking with the President regularly, briefed him and Secretary Nielsen yesterday and we'll continue to do so. He largely - his message to me is 'protect people.' Do what you can to help people."
#Hurricane #Michael currently has max sustained winds of 145 mph. The strongest (based on max wind) hurricanes on record (since 1851) to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle had max sustained winds of 125 mph (Pensacola-1882, Eloise-1975). pic.twitter.com/W4DQ3MtZYA— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) October 10, 2018