Florida governor says Tropical Storm Michael 'life-threatening'

Pat Wise
October 9, 2018

"Michael will bring unsafe storm surge to many areas, even those outside the path", said Florida Gov. Rick Scott at a news conference Monday.

By late Monday morning, Michael had become a hurricane, and forecasters at the National Hurricane Center now officially expect it to be a major Category 3 by Wednesday.

Hurricane Michael is now a Category 1 hurricane as of the 2 PM advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Water could reach the roofs of houses, he said.

Through Wednesday, the zone of greatest concern spans the Florida Panhandle from Pensacola to Apalachicola, including Destin and Panama City Beach, and the Big Bend area to its east.

Forecasters say the storm will gain more intensity through Tuesday, with a chance it will weaken somewhat as it nears land in Florida.

Here is the NHC's forecast bubble for the storm ...

After hitting Florida, the storm is forecast to move north-east on Wednesday and Thursday along the Atlantic Coast and batter the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence last month.

Floridians scurried to prepare after Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 26 counties. Also, there could be some storm surge from Michael, hitting already damaged beaches, Pfaff said.

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Hurricane Michael is gathering strength and heading toward the panhandle region of Florida, which prompted officials at Hurlburt Field to announce Monday the base will evacuate its aircraft. Tallahassee Community College and Florida A&M University are also closed.

"That means the Panhandle and Big Bend can see winds in excess of 100 miles per hour".

Michael will take a general northerly track over the next three days then turn northeastward and accelerate as it makes landfall into the United States.

Rivers in the Yadkin-Pee Dee drainage basin remain swollen after Florence dumped trillions of gallons of rainfall across North and SC, compounding the destructive potential of further inundation.

An Inland Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Clinch, Coffee, Columbia, Echols, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Jeff Davis, Suwannee, Ware, Ben Hill, Berrien, Clay, Coffee, Cook, Irwin, Lanier, Lee, Lowndes, Quitman, Randolph, Terrell, Tift, and Turner counties in Georgia.

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.

And to think: All of this from a system that only began organizing late Saturday afternoon and didn't even register as a tropical depression until early Sunday morning. Where the strongest winds set up will again depend on the exact track of the storm.

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