Hurricane Michael takes aim at Florida, state of emergency
10 October, 2018, 06:40 | Author: Tara Reeves
The center added an ominous note, saying, "Strengthening is expected, and Michael is forecast to be a major hurricane at landfall in Florida".
Michael, spinning in the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 storm Tuesday afternoon, is expected to strengthen even more before making landfall Wednesday, possibly as a Category 3.
The storm surge in some places in Florida could reach more than 10 feet, the NHC warned. The strongest wind gusts associated with the storm are expected to impact areas along and south of Warrenton to Macon to the Columbus line.
With the rainfall, the potential for gusty winds of about 15 miles per hour to 40 miles per hour depending on proximity to the Michael's outer bands.
As of Tuesday evening, Michael is spinning in the Gulf of Mexico 295 miles south of Panama City with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph as it heads north at 12 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
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.
In addition to hurricane-force winds and heavy rain, storm surge flooding is a big concern along the Florida Gulf coast. Areas east of Columbus, including central Georgia, are in a zone of 4 to 6 inches, with heavier amounts higher depending upon the location of persistent rain bands as remnants of Hurricane Michael move toward the northeast.
A hurricane warning was posted along more than 300 miles (483 km) of the coast from the Florida-Alabama border south to the Suwannee River.
Hurricane Michael will be a major hurricane when it arrives at the Florida coast sometime Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center says.
President Donald Trump, who was in Orlando delivering an address to a global association of police chiefs, said the federal government was ready and urged residents to be prepared for the worst. If the Hurricane Center's forecast track shifts further westward, that would be good news for the area, he said.
"We are now under an emergency mandatory evacuation for Panama City Beach as of 6 a.m. this morning due to Hurricane Michael", management of the Holiday Inn Resort on Front Beach Road said on the hotel's Facebook page.
The Florida Peninsula, eastern mid Atlantic and southern New England coast could see as much as 3 inches of rain.
Emergency officials in both counties and statewide are closely watching the hurricane.
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