Hurricane Michael's storm surge could be measured in feet

Hurricane Michael's storm surge could be measured in feet

Hurricane Michael's storm surge could be measured in feet

With Hurricane Michael rapidly intensifying and threatening to smash Florida's Panhandle with unsafe storm surge, flooding and winds, Gov. Rick Scott didn't mince words on Monday night: "Making decisions tomorrow might be too late".

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued on Monday for residents in various areas in Gulf County, Florida, according to a statement from county emergency officials.

Michael will arrive as an "extremely dangerous" storm Wednesday afternoon with winds of 145 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 a.m. update Wednesday.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is the Democratic nominee for governor, had planned to campaign in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday, but he said he would return to Tallahassee to help with storm preparations. "Michael is forecast to be near or at major hurricane strength when it reaches the northeastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday night and Wednesday", the hurricane center said.

The storm is expected to be a Category 2 when it makes landfall, according to the National Hurricane Center, though forecasters haven't ruled out the possibility of it being a Category 3 storm.

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A potential storm surge of eight-to-12 feet was forecast for Florida's western coastline from Indian Pass to Crystal River. Hurricane Michael in the Caribbean could have also contributed.

It is tough, Leaphart said, given road "teams haven't had a chance to rest and catch our breath from the last one".

The storm is expected to strengthen as it nears land sometime late Tuesday or Wednesday. Depending on the track of Michael's remnants, southern New England could also see a period of heavy rain late Thursday.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is also the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the November 6 election, said on Sunday he was cancelling his campaign events and returning to Tallahassee, the state capital, to focus on storm preparations.

Scott declared a state of emergency for 35 Florida counties from the Panhandle to Tampa Bay, activated hundreds of Florida National Guard members and waived tolls to encourage those near the coast to evacuate inland.

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Some of the population centers that could witness some of the most severe hurricane effects include Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City Beach and Apalachicola.

Michael was lashing western Cuba on Monday with heavy rains and strong winds.

Monday night, Michael's center was about 60 miles north-northwest of the western tip of Cuba, with the storm moving northward at 12 miles per hour. This will likely be a storm with the worst impacts seen overnight on Wednesday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). Following Hurricane Irma past year, 14 people died when a South Florida nursing home lost power and air conditioning.

"This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods and mudslides", the NHC warned.

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"Alabama is once again in the path of a hurricane, but I know Alabamians will once again come together and be prepared for whatever Michael may bring", Governor Ivey said.

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