Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Sci-tech | By Spencer Schmidt

Still far off, Michael a growing menace to Florida Panhandle

Michael already has disrupted the hectic campaign season, as Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, suspended campaign events to prepare the city for the hurricane.

Tropical storm force winds of 175 miles per hour were reported extending beyond the center of the storm, said the center.

A hurricane watch is now posted for the northeast Gulf Coast from the Alabama/Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida.

"Michael is forecast to be a hurricane, and possibly a major hurricane when it reaches the northeastern Gulf Coast by mid-week, and storm surge and hurricane watches are now in effect for portions of the area", the Center added.

By late Monday morning, Michael had become a hurricane, and forecasters at the National Hurricane Center now officially expect it to be a major Category 3 by Wednesday.

Manatee County also was included in Scott's request that President Donald Trump declare a pre-landfall emergency in those 35 counties in preparation for Hurricane Michael.

The NWS release said there is considerable uncertainty regarding the track, intensity, and timing of Michael, but confidence is increasing that it will directly impact the southeast Georgia and southeast SC area.

Ken Graham says the storm's large size, strong winds and heavy rains could produce a lot of flooding, and the shape of this stretch of coastline makes it particularly vulnerable to storm surge.

The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency is actively monitoring what has recently developed into Hurricane Michael. But within hours Sunday it had gained more punch and its top sustained winds clocked in at 60 mph (95 kph) by late Sunday evening. From there, the storm will quickly move northeastward into the Carolinas by Thursday. The heavy rainfall could lead to "life-threatening flash floods and mudslides", the National Hurricane Center warned.

"It would be a tropical storm for us", Saavedra said.

The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said a "life-threatening storm surge" was expected along much of the coast of the Florida Panhandle.

Michael is forecast to make landfall later this week in Florida's panhandle as a Category 3 hurricane.

While the storm will pass well west of Tampa Bay, the area will see gusty south and southeast winds with showers Monday through Wednesday.

The Florida panhandle will be hardest hit, with parts of the Tallahassee and Panama City areas getting 12 inches of rainfall along with damaging winds.

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