NOAA Says It’s Category 3 With 120 Mph Winds, Storm Surge

NOAA Says It’s Category 3 With 120 Mph Winds, Storm Surge

Eric O'Neal and his wife, Mariana, watch the waves as Hurricane Michael approaches land in Pensacola, Fla., on October 9.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the storm could unleash coastal storm surges of up to 3.7 meters along the Florida Panhandle and dump up to 30 cm of rain across Florida, Georgia and SC.

The storm is strengthening as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico, and the hurricane is predicted to be a major storm when it hits the Florida panhandle on Wednesday.

The storm is now a Category 3 storm packing winds of more than 120 miles per hour and is expected to grow even more potent before it makes landfall Wednesday, likely near Panama City Beach.

Rain chances stand at 60 percent in Orlando on Tuesday and Wednesday before jumping to 70 percent on Thursday.

The hurricane is expected to maintain at least tropical storm level strength as it crosses Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Voluntary evacuations were ordered for Santa Rosa, Hernando, Leon and Liberty counties.

Jason McDonald, a resident of Panama City said he and his wife were going to drive north into Alabama with their two young children. It never ends but we are all prepared and hopefully it won't be as bad as it's looking.

Coastal residents rushed to board up their homes and stock up on bottled water and other supplies.

Hurricane Michael now has maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour with higher gusts, the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 a.m. advisory. The National Hurricane Center has enacted hurricane, tropical storm, and storm surge warnings for more than 300 miles of the Florida coast.

"You can not hide from storm surge", Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned at a news conference Tuesday.

He said that forecasters aren't expecting the same kind of major river flooding caused by Florence, and conditions should improve on Friday.

"You haven't got anywhere to go (if the bridges close)", he said Tuesday morning.

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But some officials were anxious by what they weren't seeing - a rush of evacuees.

"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face".

The expected path for Hurricane Michael as of October 9, 2018. "There's nothing between us and this storm but warm water' and I think that's what terrifies us about the potential impacts". "We're just now running out of regular (gas)", worker Danny Hess told CNN affiliate WJHG. That included Pensacola Beach but not in Pensacola itself, a city of about 54,000. NWS added that heavy rainfall from Hurricane Michael could produce life-threatening flash flooding from the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region into portions of Georgia, the Carolinas and southeast Virginia.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida's Democratic nominee for governor, filled sandbags with residents and urged residents of the state capital city to finish up emergency preparations quickly.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for.

Annette Strickland, 75, arrived at a Tallahassee high school.

In Carrabelle, Florida, resident Cole Lauzau said she is planning to try riding out the storm at home with her roommate and their dog.

With an officiant standing in front of them, the couple said their vows on the beach as brisk winds brushed them. "That's just me. I don't want to be ugly".

He said: "If you decide to stay in your home and a tree falls on your house or the storm surge catches you and you're now calling for help, there's no one that can respond to help you".

Energy companies halted almost a fifth of Gulf of Mexico oil production and moved staff from 10 platforms on Monday as Michael was forecast to become the strongest of three named storms to affect the US Gulf of Mexico this year.

Michael also wreaked havoc in the Caribbean.

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