Florida Panhandle braces for Michael, now a Category 4 storm

Florida Panhandle braces for Michael, now a Category 4 storm

Florida Panhandle braces for Michael, now a Category 4 storm

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 35 counties along the Panhandle and Florida's Big Bend regions, mostly rural areas known for small tourist cities, beaches and wildlife reserves, and the state capital, Tallahassee.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on Tuesday issued a state of emergency declaration for 92 counties in the state. It developed into a hurricane on Monday, and by Tuesday, more than 140,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders.

Michael threatens to become the most the most intense hurricane to hit the Florida panhandle since 1851, according to Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University.

There was a storm surge warning in effect from the Okaloosa/Walton county line to the Anclote River in Florida, and a storm surge watch in effect from Ocracoke Inlet, N.C., to Duck, N.C.

Forecasters in Alabama warned of possible tornados. "We have done everything we can as far as getting the word out", Smith said.

While Florence took five days between the time it turned into a hurricane and the moment it rolled into the Carolinas, Michael gave Florida what amounted to two days' notice.

As of 5 p.m. EDT, Michael was 295 miles (470 kilometers) south of Panama City, speeding northward at 12 mph (19 kph).

Mr Scott said people in areas that could be affected should take no chances against such a powerful surge, adding: "No one's going to survive such a wall of water". He was amazed at how high the water was - inches from the top of the seawall washing over the dock - considering Hurricane Michael is hundreds of miles away.

The storm caused widespread destruction in Central America over the weekend, where at least 13 people have been reported dead.

Images on social media showed evacuating families wading through water to get to safety.

Heavy rainfall was projected for areas in the storm's path. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

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