Hurricane Michael may affect Sumter area later this week

Panovich: Hurricane Michael will bring heavy rain to the Carolinas

Hurricane Michael will make landfall along the Gulf Coast Wednesday as a Category 3 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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

The National Hurricane Center, in Miami said early Tuesday that, "On the forecast track, the center of Michael will continue to move over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico this morning, then move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico later today and tonight".

"This storm can kill you", Scott said. It'll weaken to a tropical storm roughly Thursday morning over Georgia, "just the time that that cold front will be knocking on our doorstep, just over the Blue Ridge Mountains".

Hurricane Michael became a Category 3 storm with 120 miles per hour maximum sustained winds on October 9-ahead of making landfall along the Florida Panhandle, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (56 kilometers) from the storm's center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (282 kilometers). A tropical storm watch has been issued from South Santee River South Carolina to Duck North Carolina, including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.

Panovich: Hurricane Michael will bring heavy rain to the Carolinas
Tropical storm warning issued for Midlands ahead of Hurricane Michael | News & Observer

People in areas that could be affected should take no chances against such a powerful surge, Scott said, adding, "No one's going to survive", such a wall of water.

Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said there were just hours left until Michael's wind gusts and rain bands would start whipping the coast.

"For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life".

A tropical storm watch is in effect along the southeastern coast of the US from Fernandina Beach, FL, to South Santee River, SC, the Chassahowitzka River to Anna Maria Island in Florida, including Tampa Bay, and the Mississippi-Alabama border to the mouth of the Pearl River.

Authorities told residents and tourists in at least 20 Florida counties to evacuate coastal areas along the 200-mile (322 km) long Panhandle and adjacent Big Bend region.

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The NHC warned that both could trigger deadly flooding, and that residents within the hurricane warning zone should likewise "prepare for life-threatening winds". "As Hurricane Michael nears landfall, we are working with state and local officials in Florida to take all necessary precautions", Trump said Monday.

"As the storm approaches the coast, the shallow seabed will reduce that wave height", said Dorn.

The first rains from Michael were already beginning to soak the Florida Keys on Monday, with up to four inches (10 centimeters) expected to fall through Tuesday. "And then you're riding it out in your vehicle instead of something else".

With a number of counties ordering evacuations, Scott waived highway tolls in the northwest part of the state.

"We are running out of time", the Republican governor said on Twitter.

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"I feel like that they should've provided something", she said. Many filled sandbags and boarded up homes and lined up to buy gas and groceries before leaving town.

"Since 6:00 am it's been backed up".

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency on Tuesday for 92 counties in his state.

The National Hurricane center says the storm is expected to become a major hurricane by Tuesday night. "Residents and businesses in coastal Alabama must be vigilant and closely monitor the storm's path and be prepared for a major hurricane".

Michael was lashing western Cuba on Monday with heavy rains and strong winds. Since the ground remains saturated in places, that could mean flash flooding, and trees in wet ground can topple more easily in high winds.

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