Tracking Michael: Sustained winds now over 100 miles per hour for Hurricane Michael
12 October, 2018, 19:46 | Author: Kelly Sanders
When Hurricane Dennis struck in July 2005 it killed 88 people (76 directly and 12 indirectly) in the U.S. and Caribbean, causing £1.9b ($2.5b) in damage.
The Florida Governor has said the state is "100 per cent ready" to face the might of Michael. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the warning area along the southeast USA coast by Wednesday, and possible in the watch area by late Wednesday.
Wind speeds could increase to around 35-40 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service, and officials would be forced to close the Sunshine Skyway Bridge if maximum sustained winds reach the 40 miles per hour threshold. The central pressure remains 965 millibars.
In Panama City, plywood and metal flew off the front of a Holiday Inn Express.
There was no change in the watches and warnings lineup from the previous advisory.
Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center advises, "There is a real possibility that Michael will strengthen to a major hurricane before landfall".
In a 5 p.m. update on October 9, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Michael has strengthened to a "major hurricane" and has life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and heavy rainfall.
Gary Givens, owner of Gary's Oyster Shack in Panama City, Florida, said he was closing his restaurant around lunch time on Tuesday with the help of his crew ahead of the storm's arrival. But the surging seawater could also create perilous problems far from the coast, raising rivers and bays to risky levels as it pushes as much as 10 to 15 miles inland.
The hurricane is forecast to weaken into a tropical storm as it moves through Georgia and into the Carolinas, which were just battered by Hurricane Florence, on Thursday.
"Hurricane Michael is a monstrous storm", said Florida Gov. Rick Scott, at a Tuesday news conference, adding that it could bring "total devastation to parts of our state, especially in the Panhandle".
He also stressed the importance for residents to make sure to follow other hurricane preparation advice, including having fresh water, batteries, battery-powered radios, propane, flashlights, canned food, and handheld can openers on hand.
Damaging winds are expected in Florida, southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia.
The NHC says some coastal regions can expect 9 to 13 feet of storm surge, as the hurricane's winds drive a wall of water onto the low-lying shore. "Residents are asked to be alert for old social media posts from two years ago when Flagler County was dealing with the after effects Hurricane Matthew". A tropical storm watch has been issued from South Santee River South Carolina to Duck North Carolina, including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.
Michael is forecast to increase to a Category 3 hurricane when it smashes into Florida on Wednesday.
Tolls were being suspended in the state's northwest region to ease the evacuation process, and the Florida Highway Patrol is sending almost 350 state troopers to the Panhandle and Big Bend areas, Scott said. Tropical-storm force winds extending 185 miles (295 kilometres) from the centre were already lashing the coast.
Meanwhile, tropical storm watches were in effect in some coastal areas of Mississippi, Florida, Georgia and SC.
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