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Moving Michael becomes ‘major’ hurricane as it targets Florida Panhandle

10 October 2018
Moving Michael becomes ‘major’ hurricane as it targets Florida Panhandle

"My expectation is if you're responsible for a patient, you're responsible for the patient".

"For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life". "So my expectation is everybody gets taken care of".

"Hurricane Michael is a massive storm that could bring total devastation to parts of our state, especially in the Panhandle", said Florida Gov. Rick Scott in a Monday press conference.

The storm is expected to reach category three strength before it makes landfall on Wednesday.

Hurricanes are violent storms that can bring devastation to coastal areas, threatening lives, homes and businesses. "If you live along some of these rivers, you have to think the waters are going to come up there". Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said she feared widespread power outages and other problems would follow.

He said: "Today is about life and safety".

Michael surprised forecasters Monday when an investigating flight found the storm more organized than expected and growing stronger. "There's nothing between us and this storm but warm water' and I think that's what terrifies us about the potential impacts".

The hurricane, now off Cuba's western tip, is expected to make landfall on the Florida panhandle and affect portions of southern Alabama.

Other Midlands counties were placed under a tropical storm watch Tuesday afternoon, including Lee County, Aiken County, Sumter County and Calhourn County. The storm's interaction with a high pressure to the north is helping to create hazardous conditions on local beaches where Weather Service advisories are in effect.

NWS forecasters also warned of a high rip current risk along the Grand Strand Tuesday.

Meantime, tropical storm warnings extend from the Chassahowitzka River to the Mississippi-Alabama border. Some of Michael's moisture will be drawn northward, meaning periods of rain for us Thursday.

The last major hurricane - Category 3 or above - to hit the Panhandle was Hurricane Dennis, which made landfall near Pensacola in 2005, according to hurricane center data. Michael's Category 3-force winds are strong enough to damage the roofs of houses, uproot trees, and blow down electricity lines. 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. The storm was centered about 390 miles (627 kilometers) south of Apalachicola and 420 miles (675 kilometers) south of Panama City, Florida.

The clockwise churn of an area of high pressure centered over DE is what's keeping Michael on a more northerly path toward the Panhandle and away from South Florida, said AccuWeather senior hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski. "You will see power outages", said Jeff Byard, associate administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Office of Response and Recovery.

Speaking alongside emergency officials in Pasco County, Scott said Monday he's waiving tolls.

Pasco, Hernando and Citrus Counties are under a Storm Surge Warning. The county offers storm preparation resources on its website.

In the small Panhandle city of Apalachicola, Mayor Van Johnson Sr. said the 2,300 residents are frantically preparing for a major hurricane strike that could be unlike any there in decades.

There will be no shelters open in Wakulla County, the sheriff's office warned on Facebook, because they are rated safe only for hurricanes with top sustained winds below 178kmh.