Hurricane Michael prompts Alabama to declare state of emergency

Katie Ramirez
October 10, 2018

The storm is strengthening and expected to hit the Florida Gulf Coast as a risky major hurricane Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

With Hurricane Michael churning Monday toward the northeast Gulf Coast, forecasts for Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley region indicate tropical storm conditions are possible, including heavy rain, gusty winds and thunderstorms.

Described by Scott as both "monstrous" and "massive", Michael could make landfall as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour, according to current projections. The storm is expected to accelerate into a Category 3 on Tuesday with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour.

The Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday said it has alerted Filipinos in 5 southeastern U.S. states to prepare for Hurricane Michael, forecast to crash ashore midweek as a major Category 3 storm.

The latest forecast track for Michael still brings the storm into Middle Georgia overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning.

In the United States, a storm surge watch has been issued from Navarre, Florida to Anna Maria Island, Florida.

The Florida State men's and women's swimming & diving teams will not travel to Christiansburg, Virginia due to the threat of Hurricane Michael.

"Take this seriously and keep your family safe", Scott said from Bay County on Monday.

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Michael was forecast to have the power to uproot trees, block roads and knock out power for days by the time it hits Florida on Wednesday. That's when Maryland could see the first remnants of the storm.

"I haven't made up my mind yet, but I know some of my staff are going", said Dave Trepanier, owner of Firefly, a restaurant a block from the beach in Panama City, Bay County, an area where the hurricane is expected to come ashore.

Florida has already declared an emergency in 26 counties.

7 P.M. Michael continued a slow process of strengthening Monday and at the 7 p.m. intermediate advisory had winds of 85 miles per hour.

At its current rate of speed, tropical-storm-force winds should reach the northern Gulf Coast as early as Tuesday evening, after which conditions will deteriorate. The red tide in the Gulf of Mexico off southwest Florida that began last October after Hurricane Irma swept up the state has killed massive amounts of marine life and caused respiratory irritations in people.

A tropical weather system rapidly strengthened into Hurricane Michael off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and forecasters said it was moving Monday into the Gulf of Mexico where warm waters would continue to fuel its development. Forecasters warned that the storm could produce up to a foot of rain in western Cuba, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountainous areas. He added, "Today it is about life and safety". The hurricane warning stretches from Pensacola, Fla., eastward to near Cedar Key in the bend of Florida Panhandle.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum says the rapid rise of Hurricane Michael led city officials to hold a "sobering" discussion about the potential impact the storm will have on the area.

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