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

11 Octobre, 2018, 21:43 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • People line up for gasoline outside Tallahassee Florida on Monday as Hurricane Michael bears down on the northern Gulf coas

The National Hurricane center says the Florida Panhandle should prepare for life-threatening storm surge, destructive winds and heavy rainfall.

Hard-charging Hurricane Michael, which has blossomed from a seemingly minor tropical storm off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula into a mighty threat Florida and beyond, gained Category 2 status Tuesday and could strengthen to Category 3 before day's end.

A hurricane warning was in effect for the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River, with a hurricane watch in place from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border. Michael is now centered about 360 miles south of Panama City, Florida, and landfall is likely to occur sometime around midday Wednesday between the Florida Panhandle and the state's Big Bend.

Authorities told residents and tourists in at least 20 Florida counties to evacuate coastal areas along the 200-mile (322 km) long Panhandle and adjacent Big Bend region. US producers in the Gulf cut oil production by about 40 percent and natural gas output by 28 percent on Tuesday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said. About 1,250 National Guard soldiers were assisting and more than 4,000 troops were on standby.

President Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House, said the country is very well prepared for the hurricane, adding it was much bigger than had been expected. Lines at gasoline stations grew as people left.

NHC Director Ken 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.

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Hurricane Michael is bearing down on the Florida Panhandle with frightening fury.

Storms can force the tide in or out, which means possible flooding, but a recent dry spell locally means the ground can withstand more rainfall, Orrock said.

On its current track, it would make landfall somewhere along a coastline that includes the cities and towns of Fort Walton Beach, Panama City Beach, Port St. Joe, St. Teresa and the wildlife reserves bordering Apalachee Bay.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott calls it a "monstrous hurricane" and is warning of a potentially devastating strike sometime Wednesday. It would head off the Mid-Atlantic coast by Friday, the NHC said.

Florida State University announced it was closing for the week on Tuesday, along with schools in Leon county, home to the state capital Tallahassee. A catastrophic event is expected on the Florida coast, where storm surges could reach 8-12 feet.

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