The United States National Hurricane Center has issued an advisory warning that an extremely dangerous category 4 Hurricane Michael is nearing the cost of the Florida panhandle. It is considered a life-threatening event for the northeastern portion of the Gulf Coast.
The storm has sustained winds of 140 mph and is due to make landfall at approximately midday. More than 370,000 Floridians have been ordered to evacuate areas thought to be closest to the eye of the storm and move to higher ground. Florida Governor Rick Scott, who declared a state of emergency, called Michael a “monstrous storm” urged residents to listen to instructions from officials. Alabama and Georgia followed Florida’s lead in also declaring a state of emergency. Forecasters in Alabama have warned of possible tornados.
Over the weekend, it was reported that at least 13 people reportedly died in Central America as a result of storm rains and floods. Six people were thought killed in Honduras, four in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador.
Weather forecasters and government officials not only worried about destructive winds and an onslaught of rain – thought to be four to eight inches in many areas, but as much as a foot in some other spots – but there are concerns that the storm surge could reach 13 feet in some places.
Officials in the Carolinas were also concerned about the path that the storm would take, particularly in light of the damage caused by the recent Hurricane Florence. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said, “We know we have to be ready, and hurricane-weary North Carolinians cannot let their guard down just because we’re fatigued with Hurricane Florence.”
U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday that, “We are very well prepared for the incoming hurricane.” Local officials, however, are warning that not nearly enough people have evacuated as they would wish – particularly in stretches of coast that could be most severely hit by a surge of up to 13ft.
The time for evacuating along the coast has come and gone. First responders will not be able to come out in the middle of the storm. If you chose to stay in an evacuation zone, you must SEEK REFUGE IMMEDIATELY.
— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) October 10, 2018
Strongest storms to hit within 150miles of Panama City, FL since 1950
Eloise-Cat 3-125mph-1975#HurricaneMichael would be strongest to ever hit FL Panhandle. pic.twitter.com/ECFJGUf6L3
— Mike Thomas (@MikeTFox5) October 10, 2018