Hurricane Michael is gaining strength and is forecast to be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades. Hurricane Michael rapidly intensified from a tropical storm to a hurricane on Monday. Michael is now a Category 2 Hurricane and is expected to strengthen to a Category 3 Hurricane by the time it slams into Northwest Florida.
Florida Governor Rick Scott called Hurricane Michael a “monster” storm during a press conference at the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center. “It’s a massive storm,” Scott warned. “We haven’t seen anything like this in the Panhandle in decades.”
“This storm can kill you,” Scott said on Tuesday. “You need to evacuate if you’re ordered to do so.”
You can get Hurricane Michael forecasts and updates from the State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) 1-800-342-3557.
Michael is expected to make landfall on Wednesday as a major hurricane. The storm will barrel into the Big Bend of Florida with life-threatening, tropical storm force winds and potentially catastrophic storm surges of 12 feet.
“You cannot hide from storm surge,” Scott said at a news conference Tuesday. “Every family must be prepared now. … We can rebuild your house, but we cannot rebuild your life.”
Here is the danger of the storm surge and flash-flooding.
Apalachicola, Florida Mayor Van Johnson Sr. said, “We’re looking at a significant storm with significant impact, possibly greater than I’ve seen in my 59 years of life.”
President Donald Trump said his administration is working with state and local officials in Florida “to take all necessary precautions.”
Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall around 1 p.m. Wednesday near Panama City, Florida.
“Michael could develop into a potentially catastrophic event for the northeastern Gulf Coast,” the National Weather Service office in Tallahassee, Florida stated.
Michael is currently a Category 2 storm with winds of 100 mph but will unleash 111 mph winds when it manifests into a Category 3 hurricane. Tens of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate the coastline where there are life-threatening winds along the Florida Gulf Coast. Rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches are forecast from the Florida Panhandle.
There are warnings for more than 300 miles of coastline and there is a state of emergency in 35 counties. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has mobilized resources to assist with the potential devastation. Scott said 2,500 National Guard soldiers and 350 Florida Highway Patrol Troopers are ready to assist in the emergency.
A state of emergency was declared for 92 counties in Georgia.
The storm will then go inland and dump heavy rain and strong winds in the Southeast.
Over the weekend, Michael killed 13 people in Central America with torrential downpours and flash-flooding over the weekend.
There is actually another hurricane forming that could follow the same path as Michael.