In a repeat of the scramble for safety that preceded the landfall of Hurricane Irma during the 2017 storm season, residents of the Florida panhandle are boarding up homes and fleeing inland as Hurricane Michael, already a Category 1 storm following a rapid intensification over the past 24 hours, barrels toward the northern Gulf of Mexico, where it’s projected to make landfall on Wednesday, possibly as a Category 3 storm.
Hurricane Michael is moving north-northwestward over the Gulf of Mexico. Here are the 4 am CDT October 9th Key Messages on Hurricane #Michael.
“The center of Michael is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday, and then move northeastward across the southeastern U.S. Wednesday night and Thursday,” the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory at 5 a.m. New York time.
The hurricane could generate a 12-foot surge, and 4-8 inches of rain in the region, with isolated areas getting as much as 12 inches. Michael is arriving less than a month after Florence hit North Carolina on Sept. 14, causing devastating floods, killing at least 39 and causing about $45 billion in estimated damages. Duke Energy Corp. warned customers in the region to prepare for potential outages.
After initially forming over the coast of Honduras, Michael battered western Cuba and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula over the weekend, causing flash flooding that left 13 dead, per CNN. With a hurricane warning in place from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida, and a hurricane watch in effect for the coast of Alabama, Florida’s governor Rick Scott called Michael “a monstrous hurricane“, and declared a state of emergency for 35 Florida counties from the panhandle to Tampa Bay.
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