Hurricane Michael heads for Florida as NC also braces for strike

Hurricane Michael heads for Florida as NC also braces for strike

Hurricane Michael heads for Florida as NC also braces for strike

Michael is predicted to become a category 3 storm, marked by torrential rains and winds in excess of 110 miles per hour.

The storm was about 220 kilometres east-northwest of Cozumel, Mexico, with maximum sustained winds of winds of 120 kilometres per hour, forecasters said.

In advance of the storm on Monday, emergency managers ordered mandatory evacuations along the coast expected to see the fiercest winds and highest surge, including Wakulla, Franklin, Gulf and Bay counties.

Parts of Florida's curvy Big Bend could see up to 12 feet of storm surge, while Michael also could dump up to a foot of rain over some Panhandle communities as it moves inland, forecasters said.

The combination of a unsafe storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. Forecasters said tornadoes could be spun off by the storm, and 3 to 6 inches of rain could cause flash floods as it barrels over a corner of the country still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

A hurricane warning is in place from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida. A Tropical Storm watch is in effect for from Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island and Tampa Bay.

Mark Wallheiser via Getty Images People line up for gasoline outside Tallahassee, Florida, on Monday as Hurricane Michael bears down on the northern Gulf coast.

"Michael is forecast to be a hurricane, and possibly a major hurricane, when it reaches the northeastern Gulf Coast by mid-week, and storm surge and hurricane watches are now in effect for portions of the area".

It could strengthen to a Category 2 hurricane by the time it approaches the Gulf Coast of Florida by Wednesday.

Forecasters say Hurricane Michael will strengthen into a major hurricane by late Tuesday as it continues on a unsafe path towards the southeastern USA state of Florida. "It will be life-threatening and extremely risky".

FEMA administrator Brock Long said the agency was prepared for the storm in all the states likely to feel Michael's impact.

"Don't think that you can ride this out if you're in a low-lying area", Nelson said on CNN.

"Folks are ready from the government side, but we need citizens to also be ready", said Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is the Democratic candidate for governor in next month's election. He also has declared a state of emergency for 35 counties and asked President Donald Trump for assistance ahead of the storm.

Locally ordered evacuations of thousands of homes have begun, with 1250 National Guard soldiers aiding the process and more than 4000 troops on standby, Scott tweeted. Storm surge could reach a monstrous 12 feet in some areas - enough to "easily go over the roofs of some houses", he said.

Florida State University has closed through Friday and the Pensacola International Airport is set to close Wednesday.

Widespread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds and heavy rain are possible.

The governor's declaration activates the state's emergency operations plan, according to Ivey's office.

If you live in the region Hurricane Michael will be passing through, you can check the latest forecasts and warnings at NOAA's National Hurricane Center.

From left, Haskel Johnson, Daniel Tippett, Jennifer Tippett and Nobuko Johnson fill sand bags at the Lynn Haven Sports Complex in Lynn Haven, Fla., Oct. 8, 2018, to prepare for Hurricane Michael.

In the Caribbean, a hurricane warning for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio was downgraded to a tropical storm warning Tuesday morning, while a tropical storm warning was discontinued for the Isle of Youth.

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