Florida braces for lethal floods as hurricane nears

Florida braces for lethal floods as hurricane nears

The National Hurricane Center is telling residents to take this threat seriously and to expect storm surge and heavy rainfall along with risky winds. Later in the day, its sustained winds topped 90 miles per hour, with stronger gusts.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 35 counties, activating 500 National Guard troops in preparation for the storm.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is also the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the November 6 election, said on Sunday he was cancelling his campaign events and returning to Tallahassee, the state capital, to focus on storm preparations.

With the ground saturated from Hurricane Florence, inland flooding is also predicted. Some of that rain could be locally heavy.

Hurricane Michael could bring heavy rain and high winds to parts of Maryland later this week, but extreme flooding did not pose an enormous risk to most of the state as of Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

Storm and storm surge watches were issued for the Gulf Coast from the Mississippi-Alabama border to Chassahowitzka, Florida, north of Tampa Bay.

Florida will take the initial impact of the storm, but it will continue through Georgia and the Carolinas, bringing rains and possible high winds to some southern cities.

A hurricane hunter plane that bounced into the swirling eye of Michael off the west tip of Cuba late Monday found wind speeds were rising even as forecasters warned the storm could reach major hurricane status with winds topping 111 miles per hour (179 kph) by Tuesday night.

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Late Monday, residents of far western Cuba were forecast to get up to eight inches of rain.

The heaviest rain will tend to fall in areas that were missed by Florence and focused from the Florida Panhandle to southwestern and central Georgia to part of central SC.

Michael has quickly gained strength since the National Weather Service issued its first bulletin on the system Saturday.

"You can't hide from storm surge", Gov. Scott said during a Tuesday morning press conference.

"We expect Hurricane Michael to make landfall between Panama City, Florida, and Apalachicola, Florida, sometime later Wednesday or Wednesday night", according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

SOME TT nationals living in Florida are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Michael.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has also designated 40 law-enforcement officers for rapid deployment. "We haven't seen anything like this in the Panhandle in decades", Scott said at the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center. The threat along the coast includes serious storm surge. Landfall is expected Wednesday on Florida's northeast Gulf Coast. This will likely be a storm with the worst impacts seen overnight on Wednesday.

Also Monday, Gov. Kay Ivey in neighboring Alabama signed an emergency declaration for her entire state, in anticipation of widespread power outages, wind damage and heavy rain.

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