Hurricane Michael now a major Category 3 storm

Hurricane Michael now a major Category 3 storm

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.

The hurricane continues to move northward at 12 mph just shy of 300 miles away from Panama City and about 270 miles from Apalachicola.

Hurricane Michael was packing winds of up to 130 miles per hour (210 km per hour), hours before it was set to make landfall on Florida's Panhandle or Florida's Big Bend where it potentially could unleash devastating waves as high as 13 feet (4 meters), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned.

The Florida Disaster website on October 9 said that parts or all of Bay County, Citrus County, Franklin County, Dixie County, Gulf County, Jackson County, Levy County, Okaloosa County, Taylor County, Wakulla County, and Walton County have been issued mandatory evacuation orders.

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. "We want to get them out of the way".

Landfall is expected by the afternoon on Wednesday, near Panama City, FL. Storm surge could be over a foot in Panama City and massive damage there is expected.

It is believed Michael, a Category 3 storm, is poised to push ashore a "life-threatening" surge of water that will inundate those coastal areas.

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Mandatory evacuations are under way in Panama City Beach and across other low-lying parts of the Florida Panhandle as Hurricane Michael approaches.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned it was a "monstrous hurricane", and his Democratic opponent for the Senate, Sen. The storm's center is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area before moving northeastward across the Southeastern U.S.

Crown planned to go home and hunker down with her two dogs: "This might be really bad and serious. But in my experience, it's always blown way out of proportion".

Michael could also dump up to a foot of rain over some panhandle communities before it sweeps through the Southeast and goes out to sea over the next few days. Forecasters said tornadoes could spin off the storm and 7.5cm to 15cm of rain could cause flash floods as it barrels over a corner of the country still recovering from Hurricane Florence. "Keep them safe", Scott said.

Scott declared a state of emergency in 35 Florida counties, mostly encompassing rural areas known for small tourist cities, beaches, wildlife reserves and Tallahassee, the state capital.

The governor also told Florida hospitals and nursing homes to do all they can to assure the safety of the frail and elderly. "You need to take care of yourselves".

At that strength, it would rank as the most powerful storm to strike the Panhandle in more than a decade.

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