Hurricane Michael Could Be 'One of the Worst' to Strike Florida

An are of low pressure in the far western Caribbean is expected to develop into a tropical depression or even a tropical storm on Sunday. Michaels is the next name up. The storm could threaten the U.S. Gulf Coast by Wednesday

Hurricane Michael is forecast to barrel its way through the states of Alabama and Georgia, as well as parts of MS and Tennessee, during the same day. By Tuesday morning Michael will likely reach Category 2 levels, and Category 3 by Wednesday with winds near 120 miles per hour.

Between 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday and 11:00 a.m. EDT today, the storm's maximum sustained winds more than doubled in speed.

Only three major hurricanes Category 3 or higher have struck the Panhandle since 1950: Eloise in 1975, Opal in 1995 and Dennis in 2005.

Aside from causing power outages, flooding and property damage, Michael could also worsen a toxic algae bloom that has plagued Florida's beaches for a year.

Back then, the Category 4 storm smashed into the Florida panhandle with 150 miles per hour winds before stalling out, leaving north and west Georgia dealing with devastating rains and flooding. The hurricane center said the storm could dump as much as 30 centimeters (12 inches) of rain, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountainous areas. The latest track from the NHC shows Michael as a category 1 hurricane entering the southwestern edge of central Georgia at 2 AM Thursday morning.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for. Interests from southeast Louisiana to western Florida should prepare for the storm.

As of now, the evacuation orders only include Gulf County, Wakulla County and Bay County.

On Monday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm.

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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 only real impact that I think this is going to have is going to be some flooding at the times of high tide", explained Osterberg.

Michael's trek to Florida is also affecting politics in the state. Later in the day, its sustained winds topped 90 miles per hour, with stronger gusts.

President Donald Trump approved a pre-landfall emergency declaration to provide federal money and help in Florida. There is still the chance for there to be tropical storm force winds in Charlotte.

A storm surge watch was in effect from Navarre east and south to Anna Maria Island and the Tampa Bay area.

Overnight Tuesday, Florida Gov.

A Hurricane Watch has been issued from the Alabama-Florida border eastward to the Suwanee River. A storm surge warning was issued for Florida's Gulf coast from the Okaloosa-Walton County Line to Anclote River.

"Let's all stay safe and watch this storm closely".

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