'Monstrous' Hurricane Michael heads towards Florida

11 October, 2018, 23:44 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • People line up for gasoline outside Tallahassee Florida on Monday as Hurricane Michael bears down on the northern Gulf coas

The National Hurricane Center further expects tropical storm conditions to spread northward along the southeast US coast through Friday.

Evacuations spanned 22 counties from the Florida Panhandle into north-central Florida. The storm also has brought flash flooding to hurricane-weary parts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

Florida's governor mobilized National Guard troops and thousands of Gulf Coast residents were ordered evacuated on Monday, two days before Hurricane Michael was forecast to slam ashore with life-threatening waves, winds and rains.

The University of Georgia's Marshall Shepherd, a former president of the American Meteorological Society, called it a "life-altering event", writing on Facebook that he watched the storm's growth on satellite images with a pit in his stomach. Only three category 5 storms have made a U.S. landfall: the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 (160 kts), Hurricane Camille (1969: 152 kts) and Hurricane Andrew (1992: 145 kts).

"If you decide to stay in your home and a tree falls on your house or the storm surge catches you and you're now calling for help, there's no one that can respond to help you, " Morgan said at a news conference.

Forecasters say Michael was upgraded to a Category 2 storm Tuesday morning, and it could make landfall as a Category 3.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on Tuesday issued a state of emergency declaration for 92 counties in the state.

Hurricane Michael is tracking closer to land, but when will it hit Florida?

Wide swaths of the region could be powerless for weeks, including the Florida Panhandle and parts of Alabama and Georgia, said Brock Long, administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Currently, Michael is located 295 miles south of Panama City, Florida, and 270 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida.

As a result of the strengthening, the National Weather Service in Tallahassee has issued the regions first ever extreme wind warning effective until 2:15 p.m. EDT. Forecasters are also predicting the possibility of spinoff tornadoes.

Mr Mahangos is not going anywhere.

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Just an hour along the coast, it's different.

Several hours ahead of landfall, seawater was already lapping over the docks at Massalina Bayou near downtown Panama City, and knee-deep water was rising against buildings in St. Marks, which sits on an inlet south of Tallahassee.

A man in the distance is gathering sand from the beach while it's still light and pouring it into trash bags - making do with what's at hand to protect from the water.

Florida is used to storms but the Panhandle, with its low-lying coastal strip and scattered communities, hasn't seen anything this strong for more than a dozen years.

Sheriff A.J. Smith in Franklin County, near the coast, sent his deputies door to door Tuesday urging people to evacuate, saying they did everything they could to get the word out.

Those that remain will be facing a frightening ordeal.

"We are in new territory", National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook.

Images on social media showed evacuating families wading through water to get to safety.

Energy companies halted almost a fifth of Gulf of Mexico oil production and evacuated personnel from 10 platforms on Monday.

The Miami-based center forecast as much as 1 foot (30 cm) of rain in parts of Florida, Georgia and SC.

Five drilling rigs have been moved out of the storm's path, according to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

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