Hurricane Michael intensifying, forecast to become Category 4 by landfall

Olive Hawkins
October 11, 2018

Currently, Michael is located 295 miles south of Panama City, Florida, and 270 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida.

It is expected to become a Category 3 storm by the time it makes landfall on the Florida Panhandle sometime Wednesday.

As a result, the northeastern Gulf Coast is undergoing mandatory evacuations - that includes the Florida Panhandle (stretching into Big Bend) as well as parts of southeast Alabama and southern Georgia.

As Hurricane Michael approaches the Gulf Coast, it is now being deemed a category 2 storm.

"#Michael could be one of the worst hurricanes to strike the Florida Big Bend and Florida Panhandle region", Rick Knabb, the hurricane expert at The Weather Channel, tweeted on Monday.

The region should brace for "major infrastructure damage", specifically to electricity distribution, wastewater treatment systems and transportation networks, Jeff Byard, associate administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Tuesday afternoon, President Donald Trump approved an emergency declaration for Florida.

The National Weather Service is now warning that Michael is a "potentially catastrophic" weather event, which could result in "the strongest hurricane to landfall" upon Florida's Panhandle in over a decade. "My greatest concern is not having electricity, and living on a fixed income, losing my food".

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"This storm will bring torrential rain, heavy winds and risky storm surges to many areas of our state", he tweeted.

"If you don't follow warnings from officials this storm could kill you", said Scott, a Republican running for the U.S. Senate in November's congressional elections. US producers in the Gulf cut oil production by about 40 percent and natural gas output by 28 percent on Tuesday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency on Tuesday for 92 counties in his state.

Here are some other facts that show the power of this "monstrous storm".

"All indications are that it's going to be severe, " said Tallahassee City Commissioner Gil Ziffer, adding that if the storm hits Florida's capital, there would be significant tree damage and power outages. Some 17,000 utility restoration workers were also on call.

In Panhandle counties, most state offices, schools and universities were closed for the rest of the week.

The second possible outcome is that the storm could cause inland flooding and push the red tide into fertilized zones, supplying the red tide bacteria with a buffet and allowing to procreate even more, AccuWeather reported.

The first rains from Michael were already beginning to soak the Florida Keys on Monday, with up to four inches (10 centimeters) expected to fall through Tuesday.

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