Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Science | By

One dead as monstrous Hurricane Michael tears into Florida

One dead as monstrous Hurricane Michael tears into Florida

While many cities along the Florida Panhandle enjoy the protection of various channel, barrier and tied islands, which can help stifle the impact of storm surge on the mainland, Mexico Beach sits between Crooked Island and the St. Joseph Peninsula, directly on the water.

Even before landfall, the hurricane disrupted energy operations in the Gulf, cutting crude oil production by more than 40 percent and natural gas output by almost one-third as offshore platforms were evacuated before the storm hit.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for.

According to the 10 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Michael's winds had increased to 110 miles per hour and the central pressure was down to 965 millibars.

It warned of a life-threatening storm surge, hurricane force winds and heavy rainfall along the north-eastern Gulf coast.

"Today is the day".

Storm surges of between nine and thirteen feet are now projected for the gulf coast between Mexico Beach, Florida (just south of Panama City on the Panhandle) and Keaton Beach on Florida's Big Bend. "We haven t seen as robust of an evacuation response from the civilian population that we have seen in other storms".

Wakulla County issued a dire warning, saying it won't open any of its shelters - because they're safety-rated only for storms up to Category 2 strength, WFSU reports.

In its discussion, the center said the environment ahead of Michael was conducive to intensification.

Florida's Big Bend, a loosely defined area of the eastern Panhandle where the coastline bends to the south, was bracing for the worst. As Michael moves inland, southern Georgia and southeastern Alabama can expect damaging winds, too.

A Category 4 hurricane has never made landfall in Florida's panhandle. President Donald Trump has endorsed Scott and DeSantis.

The hurricane center's Graham said Michael represented a "textbook case" of a hurricane system growing stronger as it drew near shore, in contrast to Hurricane Florence, which struck North Carolina last month after weakening in a slow, halting approach. "It looks like another big one".

The U.S. Coast Guard in Mobile, Alabama, says its crews have rescued 27 people, mostly from damaged homes.


"The storm surge is absolutely deadly".

A state emergency-management official said all hospitals in the impacted region have reported some form of "critical failure" - water and sewage problems or infrastructure issues such as crumbling walls - that required patients to be relocated and medical field hospitals to be set up. The governor has declared a state of emergency in 35 counties and is stressing that residents should "absolutely" evacuate if ordered to.

"This happened so quickly, we weren't exactly prepared", he said.

Hurricane Michael left a trail of devastation along a huge swathe of the Florida Panhandle.

With a number of counties ordering evacuations, Scott waived highway tolls in the northwest part of the state.

"It really started as a tropical storm, and then it went to Category 1, then it was Category 2 and before you know it, it was Category 4", O Shaughnessy said.

"If you and your family made it through the storm safely, the worst thing you could do now is act foolishly", he said. "You have rain, you have wind - but storm surge, that's a lot of water that can come onshore", said David Peaton, the assistant director of emergency management in Levy County, in an interview with local station WUFT. "A National Ocean Service water level station at Apalachicola recently reported over 7.7 feet of inundation above ground level", the Hurricane Center said.

Schools and state offices in the area are to remain shut this week.

Both Peaton and Scott encourage residents to have at least three days' worth of food and supplies and to check on their neighbors and monitor local news coverage.

On Cedar Key to the south, a tiny island particularly vulnerable to the fury of hurricanes, damage was thankfully far less than feared.

Now, having weakened to a tropical storm, Michael was on its way to the Carolinas.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. "Unsafe hurricane-force winds will also extend well inland across portions of the Florida Panhandle, southern Georgia, and southeast Alabama as Michael moves inland", the National Hurricane Center said on Wednesday morning.

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