QR.bizNewsTime to 'hunker down' as Category 4 Michael nears

Time to 'hunker down' as Category 4 Michael nears

The most powerful storm to ever hit the Florida panhandle will bring drenching rains and gusty winds to the tristate area as it barrels off the coast on Thursday.

Hurricane Michael is nearing the Florida Panhandle and Panama City as a "potentially catastrophic" Category 4 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center says.

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. Counties along the coast-including Bay, Dixie, Franklin, Gulf, Jackson, Levy, Okaloosa, Wakulla and Walton-ordered evacuations, according to the governor's office.

The heavy rains could cause flash floods, the NHC said, and spawn tornados in northwestern Florida. Climate scientists say global warming from human activity is raising ocean temperatures, making storms like Michael far more powerful.

As of the 5 p.m. advisory Wednesday, Michael's sustained winds dropped slightly to 125 miles per hour while moving north-northeast at 16 miles per hour.

Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the US mainland, behind the unnamed Labor Day storm of 1935 and Camille in 1969. "I'm asking all Floridians to stay vigilant throughout tonight and tomorrow as we brace for Hurricane Michael to make landfall".

United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley also said that anyone seeking local resources connected to Hurricane Michael can dial 2-1-1 or 706-405-4775 around the clock.

On the forecast track, Michael was expected to pass northeast through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia on Wednesday Thursday as a tropical storm.

The National Hurricane Center have warned that some regions of Florida may see storm surges of up to 14 feet. The heavy rainfall will soften the ground near trees and may make them easier to fall.

Storm surge is also inundating some areas along the Panhandle.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service said Tuesday that Hurricane Michael could hit parts of SC harder than Hurricane Florence in some ways.

"It's our first storm (forecast) to be on top of us", Mollie Williams, a 17-year resident, said warily.

In the 7 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, reports of a catastrophic event were confirmed as Michael sits 105 miles south-southwest of Panama City moving north at 13 mph. The storm is forecast to move toward the Florida Panhandle and move northeast through the USA on Wednesday and Thursday before moving off land and into the Atlantic on Friday.

Hurricane Michael is roaring down on the Florida Panhandle, gaining strength so quickly that forecasters expect it to become a Category 4 monster once it slams into the white-sand beaches, fishing villages and coastal communities. Some areas could see as much as 12 inches of rain.

Hurricane Michael to hit Florida, but will there be any Maine impact?

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