Hurricane Michael strengthens into Category 2 storm with 100 miles per hour winds

Katie Ramirez
October 10, 2018

At 11 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) on Tuesday, Michael's center was about 335 miles (535 km) south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida, heading north at around 12 mph (19 kph), the NHC said.

Hurricane Michael is closing in on the Florida Panhandle, forecast to make landfall as a "monstrous" Category 3 storm with a risky storm surge of up to 12 feet, officials said.

A Tropical Storm Watch means tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours.

The agency's research oceanographer Kara Doran says wave heights in the open Gulf of Mexico are expected to reach as high as 40 feet (12 meters). "We can rebuild your house, but we cannot rebuild your life". "That's the criticality of following directions".

Of the elderly and infirm patients, Scott had a blunt message for their caregivers: "If you're responsible for a patient, you're responsible for the patient. Take care of them", he said. It's as simple as that.

Escambia County, Santa Rosa County, Pasco County, Madison County, Liberty County Leon County, Hernando County, Gadsden County, and Calhoun County are under voluntary/phased evacuation orders. The area largely consists of beach communities and state parks, which are forecast to have a total water level 16 to 20 feet higher than normal.

Hurricane Michael, pictured in a satellite image taken on October 8, 2018, when it was still a tropical storm, could produce life-threatening flooding. "If you live along some of these rivers, you have to think the waters are going to come up there".

The Commodity Weather Group said Michael was not likely to cause much interruption to oil and gas production.

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

His opponent in Florida's Senate race, Senator Bill Nelson, said a "wall of water" could cause major destruction along the Panhandle. By 8am on Tuesday (1am Wednesday NZT), top winds had reached 155kmh, and it was forecast to strengthen into a "major" Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of more than 179kmh.

In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide state of emergency, saying on Twitter that it was "in anticipation of wide-spread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds & heavy rain associated with #HurricaneMichael".

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About 3.7 million people are under hurricane warnings - in the Panhandle and Big Bend regions as well as parts of southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia.

Other Midlands counties were placed under a tropical storm watch Tuesday afternoon, including Lee County, Aiken County, Sumter County and Calhourn County.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for. The governor has also warned that there is a "significant" chance of tornadoes. Some of Michael's moisture will be drawn northward, meaning periods of rain for us Thursday.

The Category 1 hurricane now has maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm was located about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of Cuba's western tip and 520 miles (837 kilometers) south of Apalachicola, Florida. Forecasters predict the storm will bring torrential rains and winds of upwards of 120 miles per hour.

A storm surge warning is in effect for Okaloosa/Walton County Line in Florida to Anclote River in Florida.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott expanded a state of emergency declaration Tuesday to include 35 counties in preparation for the storm.

Emergency officials in both counties and statewide are closely watching the hurricane.

Scott declared a state of emergency in 35 of 67 counties but emphasized that evacuation orders are a local responsibility.

Interests along the northeastern and central Gulf Coast areas are advised to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Michael.

Several airlines and multiple airports have announced changes in service ahead of Hurricane Michael which is expected to make landfall in the Florida panhandle on Wednesday.

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