'Potentially catastrophic' Hurricane Michael strengthens to Category 2, targets Florida

Theresa Obrien
October 10, 2018

The Consulate General of the United Arab Emirates in NY on Monday issued a weather warning to Emiratis in U.S. as Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall in the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday.

The National Hurricane Center upgraded the storm with its 11 a.m. advisory Tuesday, recording maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.

North Carolina and SC will likely see heavy rainfall, which could cause flooding in areas already damaged by last month's Hurricane Florence.

Michael is forecast to produce life-threatening flash flooding from the Panhandle and Big Bend through portions of the Carolinas through Thursday, with 10 inches of rain forecast across parts of the Panhandle.

Hurricane Michael is shaping up to be a "monster" storm, in the words of Florida's governor, but it doesn't look like there will be any major effects on the D.C. area.

Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 26 counties as Tropical Storm Michael gathers strength in the Caribbean and barrels toward the Florida Panhandle.

In North Carolina, still reeling from the destruction of Hurricane Florence last month, Gov. Roy Cooper warned that Michael could bring moderate storm surge, downed trees and power outages to his sodden state. The center of Michael is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday.

As Hurricane Michael approaches the Gulf Coast, it is now being deemed a category 2 storm. By that time, Michael is forecast to have winds of 125 miles per hour.

Some areas along the state's Big Bend area could see risky storm surge between six and 12 feet as Michael nears, the Hurricane Center reported.

Volusia County Beach Safety secured non-essential equipment off of the beach due to the predicted wind and swell, said spokeswoman Captain Tamara Malphurs. "Take care of them", Scott said.

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Hurricane Michael would be the first major hurricane to hit the panhandle since Hurricane Dennis in 2005, which made landfall near Pensacola, according to hurricane centre data.

Although the risk is lower, there will be some severe storms with possible tornadoes for the rest of us.

Michael's trek to Florida is also affecting politics in the state.

Gulf County officials issued a mandatory evacuation for all of Cape San Blas, all of Indian Pass area, Simmons Bayou, Highland View, and Windmark.

People visit the beach while waiting for Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach, Florida. Many filled sandbags and boarded up homes and lined up to buy gas and groceries before leaving town.

Mandatory evacuations are underway for Citrus County residents living in Zone A, or in mobile homes.

In a Facebook post Monday, the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office said no shelters would be open because Wakulla County shelters were rated safe only for hurricanes with top sustained winds below 111 miles per hour (178 kph).

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.

In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency for 92 counties.

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.

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