Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Science | By Patricia Jimenez

Florida Panhandle braces for Michael, now a Category 4 storm

Florida Panhandle braces for Michael, now a Category 4 storm

They said Michael could be the strongest hurricane to hit that stretch of coastline in 13 years.

As of 5 p.m. EDT, Michael was 295 miles (470 kilometers) south of Panama City, speeding northward at 12 mph (19 kph). According to the Associated Press, a hurricane hunter plane flew into the storm Tuesday morning and found the storm was rapidly intensifying, which mean winds could push the storm into a category three before it makes landfall sometime on Wednesday.

Anxious meteorologists said it had the potential of becoming one of the worst storms in the history of Florida's Panhandle.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned it was a "monstrous hurricane", and his Democratic opponent for the Senate, Sen.

"The time to prepare is now".

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Steve Litschauer, the interim director of the Manatee County Emergency Management Center, said Hurricane Michael could bring 2 to 4 feet of storm surge along the coast with an additional 1 to 3 inches of rain.

Mandatory evacuation orders went into effect in Panama City Beach and other low-lying areas in the storm's path.

Governor Scott called for coastal residents to evacuate, saying: "It could be the difference between life and death".

"Michael is forecast to be a major hurricane at landfall in Florida", the NHC says, adding that "weakening is expected after landfall".

Accuweather captured this image of Hurricane Michael that looks like a skull.

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While most homes around him are vacation rentals or summer getaways for their owners, Sadousky had stayed put through more than four decades of storms. "It's too late to get out, you need to hunker down".

Drawing energy from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the storm strengthened rapidly into a potentially devastating Category 3 by evening.

Storm surge and tropical storm-like conditions could impact Manatee County through Thursday afternoon, according to watches from the National Weather Service.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida's Democratic nominee for governor, helped people fill sandbags.

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