Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Hurricane Michael Grows to Terrifying Category 4

Hurricane Michael Grows to Terrifying Category 4

It's now a category 4 storm, with winds of up to 140mph expected. The last Category 3 to hit the Panhandle was Dennis back in 2005, and the last time the Panama City area was hit by a Category 3 hurricane was 1894.

Hurricane Michael is an extremely unsafe Category 4 storm and still growing stronger as it closes in on the northwest Florida coast.

As of 5 a.m. ET on Wednesday, the hurricane's eye was 140 miles from Panama City, Florida.

Hurricane Michael has killed at least one person as it continues to move inland over the Southeast.

Six airports in the Florida Panhandle have closed in anticipation of the storm's impacts. Counties along the coast-including Bay, Dixie, Franklin, Gulf, Jackson, Levy, Okaloosa, Wakulla and Walton-ordered evacuations, according to the governor's office.

Appearing before the media Wednesday morning in the State Emergency Operations Center, Scott said fuel is moving where needed and no "widespread" gas outages had been reported.

It was one of the most intense hurricanes ever to hit the USA mainland and the most powerful one on record to menace the Panhandle, a roughly 320-kilometre stretch of fishing towns, military bases and spring-break beaches.

Storm surge along the Big Bend of Florida looks like it will be particularly devastating.

President Donald Trump approved a pre-landfall emergency declaration to provide federal money and help in Florida. The storm will weaken as it pushes towards the Palmetto State, but it will still pack a punch. Up to 12 inches of rain could fall in the area.

On Wednesday, McMaster issued an order keeping SC in a state of emergency and allowing resources deployed during Hurricane Florence to stay in play.

First Baptist Church of Barnwell - 161 Allen Street, Barnwell - Opened at 2 p.m.

Forecasters are warning of life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic wind damage and heavy rainfall as the hurricane moves onshore. Forecasters say its still possible the storm could gain strength before making landfall, but it's now just 60 miles south southwest of Panama City. The NHC said some areas of the Florida coast could expect storm surge of nine to 13 feet, and as much as a foot of rain.

"We have trucks loaded with tons of food, water and other critical supplies, ready to move in", Scott said.

Michael also could dump up to a foot (30 centimeters) of rain over some Panhandle communities before it sweeps over Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia Wednesday and Thursday. Wind will also be a major factor.

Timothy Thomas, riding out the storm with his wife in their second-floor apartment in Panama City Beach, said: "We are catching some hell". He focused on islands off the coast whose bridges may close as the storm approaches.

"This happened so quickly, we weren't exactly prepared", he said. "So, we need the residents to be leaving today because by this evening, those bridges are going to be in peril of being closed".

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward on preparations ahead of Hurricane Michael.

People in coastal parts of 20 Florida counties had been told to leave their homes but by Wednesday morning were told it was too late to flee.

Like this: