Friday, 19 October, 2018

Strengthening Hurricane Michael closes in on Florida

'Running out of time': Florida braces for dangerous floods as Hurricane Michael strengthens Hurricane Michael expected to rapidly intensify; Tropical Storm Watch for Mississippi
Sandy Nunez | 10 October, 2018, 01:00

U.S. oil prices ended mostly flat as traders discounted any long-term effect on output by the storm, projected to be the first major hurricane to enter the U.S. Gulf this year.

The speed of the storm barreling toward the Florida Panhandle - Michael was moving north-northwest at 12 miles per hour (19 kph) - was among the hazards worrying forecasters at the National Hurricane Center on Tuesday morning.

Hurricane Michael caused widespread destruction in Central America over the weekend, where at least 13 people have been reported dead.

Forecasters say the storm could dump as much as 30 centimeters of rain in western Cuba, triggering life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

At 11 a.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center said Michael had top sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (175 kph).

Florida's residents were bracing themselves for the arrival on Wednesday of Hurricane Michael, a weather system which the national hurricane center has now classed a major storm.

"We can rebuild your home, but we cannot rebuild your life", Scott said.

"While 11 counties have already issued evacuation orders, it is expected that even more local governments in the area of the emergency declaration will consider closing offices and issuing evacuation orders on Tuesday in anticipation of the hurricane's landfall, also affecting the ability of these individuals to register", Rizzo said in a statement. Tropical storm watches are in effect in some coastal areas of Mississippi, Florida, Georgia and SC.

Coastal residents rushed to board up their homes and sandbag their properties against the fast-moving hurricane, which was expected to blow ashore around midday Wednesday along a relatively lightly populated stretch of shoreline known for its fishing villages and white-sand spring-break beaches.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor, said his city's utility has called in "six times" its normal staffing through mutual-aid agreements with other utilities.

Landfall is expected Wednesday on the northeastern Gulf Coast, where authorities warned of a potentially devastating strike. The center warned heavy rain, unsafe winds and life-threatening storm surges were possible across Western Cuba on Monday as winds picked up speed on the Gulf Coast.

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"Hurricane Michael is a massive storm that could bring total devastation to parts of our state, especially in the Panhandle", Scott said. "You need to evacuate if you're ordered to do so".

Gillum said Monday that officials initially thought, "we will have outages and it will be inconvenient".

Forecasters expect the tropical storm to become a hurricane on Monday.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Florida cities including Tallahassee, Panama City, Apalachicola and Pensacola.

Hurricane Michael is coming.

"The storm surge is absolutely deadly".

Hurricane-force winds and strong rain were being felt in Cuba.

As the storm closed in on the US, it caused havoc in the Caribbean. "Heavy rainfall from Michael could produce life-threatening flash flooding from the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region into portions of Georgia and SC". Larger surf is expected Tuesday, Malphurs said, and access ramps are expected to be closed to driving all morning and into the early afternoon.

RMS said that, "Because Michael is expected to be a fast-moving storm, the potential impacts are nearly the opposite of what we saw in Florence".

Escambia County, Santa Rosa County, Pasco County, Madison County, Liberty County Leon County, Hernando County, Gadsden County, and Calhoun County are under voluntary/phased evacuation orders.