Science

Hurricane Michael headed to Florida is classic October storm

Hurricane Michael headed to Florida is classic October storm

Hurricane Michael closed in on Florida´s Gulf Coast on Wednesday as an "extremely dangerous" category four storm packing powerful winds and a huge sea surge, U.S. forecasters said.

With the storm on Florida's doorstep, Gov. Rick Scott told residents Wednesday morning, "it is not safe to travel across the Panhandle".

Scott said the state is ready to respond once the storm passes, with 3,500 members of the Florida National Guard activated and more than 1,000 state forestry and wildlife officers prepared for search-and-rescue operations. "I've spent the last few days traveling the coast to get people to evacuate".

Brock Long, administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, warned that the brutal storm would "stay intact" as a hurricane as it roars through the Florida Panhandle and parts of Alabama and Georgia.

Based on wind speed, Michael is the fourth-strongest USA -landfalling hurricane, behind Andrew, Camille in 1969, and the biggest one of all, an unnamed 1935 Labor Day storm that had winds of 184 miles per hour.

As of late afternoon, the storm's winds had dropped to Category 3 strength at 125 miles per hour and was moving north-northeast at 16 miles per hour. Michael is now the third most intense hurricane to the hit the US based on the central pressure of 919 millibars.

This map shows the probable path of Hurricane Michael which made landfall Wednesday.

According to an 11:30 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, the storm with the potential to create a catastrophic event across Northwest Florida, had winds measured at 150 miles per hour based on data from Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft.

According to the National Hurricane Center, there will be life-threatening storm surge, the worst of which is expected between Tyndall Air Force Base and Keaton Beach, "where 9 to 13 feet of inundation is possible".

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Following morning showers, heavy rain will arrive after 11 a.m. Thursday and continue through the evening.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH is up for coastal Manatee county but the risk of sustained tropical storm winds is small.

Where the military ends up responding could shift north as Michael moves up the coast to the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

The hurricane made a direct hit on New Orleans as a Category 3 storm, causing levees and flood walls to fail in dozens of places.

In an advisory from the National Hurricane Center, the potential for a catastrophic event along the Florida Panhandle becomes even more real as Category 4 Hurricane Michael has increased in intensity.

"It's our first storm (forecast) to be on top of us", Mollie Williams, a 17-year resident, said warily.

The storm is expected to affect many communities in the Carolinas still reeling from Hurricane Florence.

The storm's center is now on track to make landfall "pretty close to Panama City" early Wednesday afternoon, Graham said. Up to 12 inches of rain could fall in the area.


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