Evacuations ordered as Florida braces for Hurricane Michael

Olive Hawkins
October 10, 2018

Florida officials said roughly 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast had been urged or ordered to evacuate.

BP Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp on Monday began evacuating personnel from Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production platforms.

The Florida Panhandle could see storm surges of up to 13 feet, life-threatening hurricane winds, heavy rainfall and flash-flooding, the NHC said.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely unsafe", Scott said Sunday after receiving a briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center.

NHC Director Ken Graham said Michael represented a "textbook case" of a hurricane system growing stronger as it drew near shore, in contrast to Hurricane Florence, which struck North Carolina last month after weakening in a slow, halting approach. Byard said an estimated 500,000 people face evacuation orders and advisories in Florida, where residents and tourists were fleeing low-lying areas in at least 20 counties stretching along 200 miles (322 km) of shore in the Panhandle and adjacent Big Bend regions. "The forecast keeps getting more risky", said Republican Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday as he urged all residents in the storm's path to evacuate or seek safe shelter.

Forecasters on Wednesday warned people in the southern USA state of Florida to be ready for the full impact of "extremely dangerous" Hurricane Michael. Mike Bettes, a meteorologist with The Weather Channel, noted on Twitter Wednesday morning that his crew was pulling out of Apalachicola, a small coastal community to the right of Michael's projected landfall that will likely bear the brunt of the storm's winds and surge.

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Five drilling rigs have been moved out of the storm's path, according to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

Alabama, Florida and Georgia have declared states of emergency in all or parts of the states.

Scott said that he's called up 2,500 members of the National Guard to assist, and has more than 1,000 rescuers at the ready.

Florida State University announced it was closing for the week on Tuesday, along with schools in Leon County, home to the state capital Tallahassee.

Krystal Day, of Homosassa, Fla., left, leads a sandbag assembly line at the Old Port Cove restaurant Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, on Ozello, Fla. Those who stayed emptied grocery store shelves of water and other supplies.

The last major hurricane to hit the Panhandle was Hurricane Dennis in 2005, according to hurricane center data.

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