‘Monstrous’ Hurricane Michael leaves Florida and Alabama bracing for impact

Gwen Vasquez
October 10, 2018

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued on Monday for residents in various areas in Gulf County, Florida, according to a statement from county emergency officials.

The National Weather Service described Michael as "extremely risky", saying it will bring life-threatening storm surge, hurricane force winds and heavy rainfall along the northeastern Gulf Coast.

Florida State University said its campuses in Tallahassee and Panama City will be closed from Tuesday to Friday.

CNN reports that such language is warranted, for Michael is now "slashing Cuba" and is expected to reach Category 3 status (with sustained winds from 111-129 mph) by Wednesday when it reaches the us mainland.

As of 5 a.m. ET Monday, Tropical Storm Michael was centered about 90 miles east of Cozumel, Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said.

The life-threatening storm is then expected to rapidly intensify, threatening anywhere to the right of Panama City with the potential of up to 12 feet of storm surge.

Worry over Hurricane Michael has also postponed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission's highly anticipated hearings into the high school massacre scheduled for this week, as many of those on the commission live in the panhandle.

It is tough, Leaphart said, given road "teams haven't had a chance to rest and catch our breath from the last one".

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Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum canceled campaign events in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday to prepare for the storm, his campaign said.

"If a storm damages your home, call your insurance agent or company first", said Samantha Sexton, vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs for the Federation.

The Florida panhandle and "Big Bend" region stretching southward toward Cedar Key are places along the Gulf shore prone to high tide flooding and storm surge.

If it makes landfall as a Category 4, it'll be the strongest hurricane to hit the Florida Panhandle in recorded history, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said. In the days following Hurricane Irma past year, 14 people died after a South Florida nursing home lost power and air conditioning.

At 4 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said Michael was about 30 miles northwest of the western tip of Cuba and was moving north at 9 mph.

Michael was lashing western Cuba on Monday with heavy rains and strong winds. The storm will also unleash flooding rain and destructive winds starting Tuesday night and continuing through Wednesday.

In neighboring Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey declared an emergency for the entire state on October 8 in anticipation of wind damage, heavy rains and power outages.

Carpenter said conditions could "start deteriorating" in Beaufort County late Tuesday at the earliest, but effects would be more likely Wednesday or Thursday. The National Hurricane Center has enacted hurricane, tropical storm, and storm surge warnings for more than 300 miles of the Florida coast. The weather advisory warned of potential mudslides in Cuba and life-threatening flash floods for areas of Florida, the mid-Atlantic states and ranging up to southern New England. It became a tropical storm a littler after noon on Sunday; less than 24 hours later, it was a hurricane.

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