Hurricane Michael may affect Sumter area later this week

Larry Hoffman
October 10, 2018

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued to about 120,000 people living in Panama City, Fla., and across other low-lying parts of the coast as the storm nears.

At 2 p.m. ET, Michael's center was about 310 miles (500 km) south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida, heading north at around 12 mph (19 kph), the NHC said.

Parts of Florida could begin feeling tropical storm conditions as early as tonight as Hurricane Michael churns across the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday, headed for a Wednesday landfall along the northeastern Gulf Coast.

Rainfall could lead to flash flooding in Florida's panhandle and Big Bend regions, as well as in the Carolinas, through Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Some areas along the state's Big Bend area could see unsafe storm surge between six and 12 feet as Michael nears, the Hurricane Center reported. Residents also lined up to buy gas and groceries even as evacuations - both voluntary and mandatory - were expected to pick up the pace Tuesday.

"We are running out of time", Scott said in a post on Twitter.

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.

The hurricane was forecast to deliver as much as 1 foot (30 cm) of rain in parts of Florida, Georgia and SC.

The storm will bring an 8-12 foot storm surge.

Hurricane Michael is expected to hit the Florida panhandle as a major storm on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 10) - and US weather satellites are busy watching the storm to help meteorologists keep people safe.

Hurricane Michael will nearly certainly bring more rain to areas already hard-hit by flooding from Hurricane Florence last month. The storm was centered about 365 miles south of Apalachicola and 395 miles south of Panama City, Florida.

Though the Midlands area is not expecting hurricane-force winds, the Columbia area could experience a harder impact than it did during Hurricane Florence, forecasters said Tuesday. Additionally, 500 members of the Florida National Guard have been activated ahead of the storm. Western Cuba was also forecast to get torrential rains.

The storm will track up through Florida and Georgia before moving into North Carolina, bringing 2-5 inches of rain along with the threat of flooding and wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour.

Many schools, businesses and government buildings will be closed and energy companies have halted almost a fifth of the oil production on the Gulf of Mexico, a part of the United States which is responsible for 17% of daily U.S. crude oil output.

When asked if Maul remained concerned about local efforts Tuesday afternoon, Division of Emergency Management spokesman Alberto Moscoso said: "Director Maul will continue to stress the need for urgency from county officials who are in charge of evacuations and sheltering operations".

He said: "Today is about life and safety".

Hurricane Michael is threatening more than 300 miles of the Gulf Coast, prompting emergency declarations in more than 35 counties from Mobile, Alabama through the Florida Panhandle and into the state's Big Bend region.

Hurricane Michael escalated somewhat quickly. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency on October 8.

In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency for 92 counties.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida's Democratic nominee for governor, had planned to campaign in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday, but instead threw himself into helping his city's residents fill sandbags and get their storm preparations completed.

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