Florida is braced for a hurricane 'catastrophe'

Christopher Davidson
October 10, 2018

He declared a state of emergency in 35 counties.

Hurricane Michael became a Category 3 storm with 120 miles per hour maximum sustained winds on October 9.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told residents: "I know people are worn out from Florence, but don't let this storm catch you with your guard down".

Heavy rains are forecast for the Carolinas, which were drenched by Hurricane Florence last month. Florida Governor Rick Scott called for residents along the coast to seek refuge immediately.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency on Tuesday for 92 counties in his state.

Previous year saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Hurricane Harvey - causing a record-equaling $125 billion in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area.

Michael's eye was about 140 miles from Panama City and 130 miles from Apalachicola, but moving relatively fast at 13 mph.

Winds of that magnitude can inflict substantial damage to roofs and walls of even well-constructed homes, according to the National Weather Service.

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On the exposed coast of Florida's Big Bend, most of the waterfront homes in Keaton Beach stood vacant amid fears of a life-threatening storm surge in an area that hadn't seen a potentially catastrophic major hurricane in decades. And isolated tornadoes were also possible.

President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday: "We are very well prepared for the incoming hurricane".

"The time for evacuating along the coast has come and gone".

Anxious meteorologists said it had the potential of becoming one of the worst storms in the history of Florida's Panhandle.

A number mandatory evacuations have been ordered in Florida counties ahead of Michael.

Scott said that he's called up 2,500 members of the National Guard to assist, and has more than 1,000 rescuers at the ready.

Where has Hurricane Michael hit so far?

Torrential downpours and flash flooding from the storm over the weekend caused 13 deaths in Central America.

Parts of western Cuba, which was hit by the storm on Monday, were forecast to receive up to a foot of rain. Tens of thousands of people were told to evacuate coastal areas as the storm moved over the Gulf of Mexico, bringing winds of 120mph and disrupting oil production. USA 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.

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