Science

Hurricane Michael menaces Florida after killing 13

Hurricane Michael menaces Florida after killing 13

The hurricane's sustained winds are expected to hit up to 120 miles per hour by late Tuesday, making it a major hurricane - the designation for Category 3 storms and above, on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale.

Residents of barrier islands, mobile homes and low-lying coastal areas in Gulf, Wakulla and Bay counties were ordered to evacuate by late Monday or early Tuesday.

Florida State University said its campuses in Tallahassee and Panama City will be closed from Tuesday to Friday.

Michael was now a Category 1 hurricane but could become a Category 3 storm by Tuesday on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, with winds of at least 100 miles per hour (160 km per hour).

Michael was packing sustained winds of up to 85 miles per hour (140 kph) and gaining strength as it skirted past Cuba's western tip en route to a likely landfall on October 10 as the most powerful storm to strike the Florida Panhandle in at least a decade.

With the storm next entering the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico, which has warm water and favorable atmospheric conditions, "there is a real possibility that Michael will strengthen to a major hurricane before landfall", Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the Miami-based storm forecasting hub, wrote in an advisory.

After hitting Florida, the storm is forecast to move northeast on Wednesday and Thursday along the Atlantic Coast and batter the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence last month.

Tallahassee City Commissioner Gil Ziffer warned that if the storm hits Florida's capital, there would be significant tree damage and power outages.

The first rains from Michael already started to soak the Florida Keys on Monday.

"Take this seriously and keep your family safe", Scott said.




As with any hurricane that makes landfall, there will be the risk of tornadoes being spawned.

"Storm surge is the number one problem that you can see from these storms. you have rain, you have wind - but storm surge, that's a lot of water that can come on shore", said David Peaton, the Deputy Director of Emergency Management in Levy County in an interview with WUFT.

By 11am Monday, Michael's top sustained winds were around 75mph (120 kph).

SOME TT nationals living in Florida are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Michael.

At 4 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said Michael was about 30 miles northwest of the western tip of Cuba and was moving north at 9 mph.

Monday afternoon, Scott announced he expanded the declaration to include Manatee County, along with Bradford, Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Alachua, Union and Baker counties.

Manatee County also was included in Scott's request that President Donald Trump declare a pre-landfall emergency in those 35 counties in preparation for Hurricane Michael.

"This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods and mudslides", the NHC warned. Tropical storm warnings extend farther south, to Chassahowitzka, Fla., and to the west, along the Alabama coast.

"Today it is about life and safety", Gillum said.


  • Michael expected to gain hurricane strength nearing Florida

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