State of Emergency Declared for Florida Panhandle

Hurricane Michael forms in gulf Lowcountry impact expected later this week

The National Weather Service described Michael as "extremely risky", saying it will bring life-threatening storm surge, hurricane force winds and heavy rainfall along the northeastern Gulf Coast. Rain coverage will begin to expand into the region Wednesday, with the heaviest rain likely Thursday into Friday morning.

Up to 12 inches of rain could fall in Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend, southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia.

The category-1 hurricane left dozens dead in the Carolinas and is estimated to have caused billions of dollars in damage. Two days from now, forecasts project it will be a major hurricane (category three or stronger) bearing down on the gulf coast of Florida.

By the time Michael reaches the Carolinas, it will be a weakening tropical storm.

"Start preparing today", NHC Director Ken Graham told people in the storm's path, in a Facebook video update Monday.

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As forecast, Michael would be the first Category 3 or higher hurricane to hit the Panhandle since Hurricane Dennis in 2005. A northward motion is expected through tonight, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday.


Speaking alongside emergency officials, Mr Scott declared a state of emergency for 35 counties and asked President Donald Trump for assistance ahead of the storm.

The storm became a category 1 hurricane on Monday, and could be a category 2 or 3 storm by the time it hits Florida.

Additionally, we have a Storm Surge Watch up for Tampa Bay Waters as well as High Surf Advisories, Rip Current Advisories and a Small Craft Advisory.

Florida State was also inviting its off-campus students, faculty and staff to weather the storm in the building where its basketball teams play. Maximum sustained winds have climbed to 90 miles per hour and the central pressure remains at 970 millibars.

Data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 miles per hour with higher gusts.

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President Donald Trump approved a pre-landfall emergency declaration to provide federal money and help in Florida.

Strong winds will extend hundreds of miles east of the storm, meaning power outages and storm impacts will extend across large areas of North Florida.

The storm is expected to strengthen to Category 3 before hitting Florida on Wednesday, bringing life-threatening winds and storm surge. The NHC forecasts up to 8 inches for the panhandle, southeast Alabama, and parts of southwest and central Georgia.

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.

In a Facebook post, Wakulla County Sheriff's Office said no shelters would be open because Wakulla County shelters were rated safe only for hurricanes with top sustained winds below 111mph.

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Marion County could experience tropical storm conditions. He focused on islands off the coast whose bridges may close as the storm approaches.

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