'Life-threatening' storm surge expected as Hurricane Michael approaches Florida

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Hurricane Michael became a Category 3 storm with 120 miles per hour maximum sustained winds on October 9-ahead of making landfall along the Florida Panhandle, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

In all likelihood, destruction on that scale won't happen, but the most recent major storm, Hurricane Florence, caused $38 billion of damage, mostly in North Carolina and extended into SC and Virginia.

"We expect Hurricane Michael to make landfall between Panama City, Florida, and Apalachicola, Florida, sometime later Wednesday or Wednesday night", according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski. A hurricane watch is in effect from the Alabama-Florida border eastward to the Suwanee River, and tropical storm watches have been issued from the Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island and from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

Governor Rick Scott, who has activated 2500 members of the National Guard in response, echoed Mr Knabb's assessment saying that: "Hurricane Michael poses a deadly threat (as the) most destructive storm to hit the Florida panhandle in decades".

Hurricane Michael suddenly became news on Monday after eclipsing its former tropical-storm status while lashing Cuba.

5pm ET Tuesday forecast track for Hurricane Michael.

"I just got a crew that came in that are staying also and they're in here helping me get everything buttoned up, tightened down, getting the food secure", Givens said.

Panovich: Hurricane Michael will bring heavy rain to the Carolinas

"#Michael could produce three life-threatening hazards along portions of the northeastern Gulf Coast: storm surge, heavy rainfall, and hurricane-force winds, with storm surge and hurricane watches in effect", the NHC said on Twitter. The storm is expected to hit the Florida Panhandle within the next day with winds of nearly 130 miles per hour, along with 12-foot-high storm surge and heavy rain that will drench its way into the Carolinas. With just a month to go before Election Day, voters were also given one more day to register to vote, once offices reopen after the storm. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (56 kilometers) from the storm's center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (282 kilometers).

Storm surge that could be greater than 6 feet is forecast as far south as Crystal River with more than 9 feet into Apalachicola Bay. As what is predicted to be a catastrophic storms whips towards the Gulf Coast, we're sharing all of the vital information you should know.

In a Facebook post Monday, the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office said no shelters would be open because Wakulla County shelters were rated safe only for hurricanes with top sustained winds below 111 miles per hour.

A large mound of sand in Tallahassee was whittled down to a small pile within hours Monday as residents filled sandbags to prepare for potential flooding.

"Guess what? That's today", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.

By Monday morning, generators were sold out in many area stores, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. "There's nothing between us and this storm but warm water and I think that's what terrifies us about the potential impacts". With Michael's winds projected to be even stronger, residents were urged to evacuate inland.

Local authorities are stressing timely evacuation, too. "We're going to get storm surge, we have wind, we have a chance of flooding, we have a significant chance of tornadoes".

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