Published: Wed, October 10, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Hurricane Michael expected to rapidly intensify; Tropical Storm Watch for Mississippi

Hurricane Michael expected to rapidly intensify; Tropical Storm Watch for Mississippi

The storm is expected to unleash coastal storm surges of up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) along Florida's Panhandle and dump as much as a foot (30 cm) of rain across Florida, Georgia and SC, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported.

On the Florida Panhandle, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan bluntly advised residents who choose to ride out the storm that first responders won't be able to reach them during or immediately after Michael smashes into the coast. "Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes".

7 P.M. Michael continued a slow process of strengthening Monday and at the 7 p.m. intermediate advisory had winds of 85 miles per hour.

"We expect less rain to fall when compared to Florence", said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Kottlowski. The below graphic shows the storm's projected path, which could also dump large amounts of rain throughout the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence. It had maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour and was moving north at 12 miles per hour.

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Michael battered parts of Mexico and Cuba with powerful winds and drenching rains on Sunday and into early Monday. Some southern Alabama counties were under a tropical storm watch Monday afternoon. Storm surge could reach heights of 6 to 9 feet from the Okaloosa-Walton County line to Mexico Beach and from Keaton Beach to Cedar Key.

Hurricane Michael, pictured in a satellite image taken on October 8, 2018, when it was still a tropical storm, could produce life-threatening flooding.

"Storm surge is absolutely deadly", Scott said. "This storm has the potential to bring devastating impacts to communities across the Panhandle and Big Bend and every family must be prepared".

Scott has deployed 1,250 Florida National Guard troops with another 4,000 on standby waiting to be called up.

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The National Hurricane Center has warned that a "life-threatening" storm surge is likely to strike the Panhandle. In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal declared a preemptive state of emergency for 92 counties. The bloom has spread to Florida's Panhandle and the Miami area.

In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide state of emergency in anticipation of damage from Hurricane Michael.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for. Michael was forecast to push through warm, relatively shallow Gulf of Mexico waters before moving inland over the northern Gulf coast of Florida. The primary threat will be tropical storm force winds, which are likely for most of our area. Storm Surge Watch covered Navarre, in the Panhandle, to Anna Maria Island.

Henderson County is expected to get 3 to 4 inches of rainfall Tuesday through Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

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Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said the Florida Forest Service and the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement are preparing teams to support urban search and rescue operations.

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