After nearly reaching Category 5 status, Hurricane Michael is now Tropical Storm Michael as it moves northeast towards the Atlantic over the Carolinas. The storm left a trail of destruction around the Florida Panhandle and Georgia, causing several highway closures, power outages and destroyed structures.
Michael reached peak strength of 155 mph sustained winds right as it reached landfall at approximately 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10, near Mexico Beach, Fla. Hurricanes reach Category 5 status, the highest category, at 157 mph. Approximately 1 million customers across the Southeast are without power as of 4 p.m. Eastern.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regional emergency declaration remains in effect for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Drivers directly supplying relief efforts are exempt from certain Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
As of 4 p.m. local time, the Florida Department of Transportation is reporting an 80-mile stretch of Interstate 10 is closed. Eastbound lanes are closed from U.S. 331 (mile marker 85) to the Appalachicola River (mile marker 160). Westbound lanes are closed from the Appalachicola River to SR 77 (mile marker 120). One alternate route uses SR 2, nearly twice the distance at about 140 miles.
More information about Florida road closures can be found at FL511.com.
Approximately 330,000 customers were without power in Florida at 4 p.m. on Thursday, all situated on the panhandle. All airports that were closed on Wednesday because of the storm have reopened. The Ports of Gulf Port, Mobile, Pascagoula and Pensacola have reopened. However, the ports of Cedar Key and Panama City are still listed as closed.
Sections of several state routes in Georgia are either closed or experiencing lane reductions due to debris from the storm. Affected highways include (both directions and all lanes affected unless otherwise noted):
- SR 11 at mile marker 1.8, Arena Road and Saddle Creek Road.
- SR 112 northbound at Braden Road.
- SR 118 at 11th Avenue.
- SR 126 at Jake Dykes Road.
- SR 22 eastbound (right lane) at mile marker 8.
- SR 257 at mile marker 2.
- SR 315 westbound (right lane) at Huling Road.
- SR 329 at Leavens Road.
- SR 49 southbound at Arch Helms Road.
- SR 50 southbound at Wheeler Street.
- SR 520 southbound (right lane) at mile marker 14.2.
- SR 55 southbound at Forrester Drive.
- SR 62 westbound at Luke Station Road.
- SR 74 westbound at Estes Road and Montpelier Church Road
- SR 87 southbound at Juliette Road.
- U.S. 129 northbound at mile marker 15.
- U.S. 280 at King of Kings Road, 10th Street and SR-112.
- U.S. 441 northbound (right lane) at Sandy Creek Road.
- U.S. 53 westbound at Cain Trail.
Expected clear times for affected roadways range from late Thursday night into early Friday morning. Go to 511GA.org for updated traffic information.
According to GDOT, the Sidney Lanier Bridge (U.S. 17/SR-25), Talmadge Bridge (US-17 in Chatham County) and Houlihan Bridge (SR 25 in Port Wentworth-Chatham County) have all reopened.
Tropical Storm Michael is passing through North and South Carolina less than one month after both states were slammed with heavy rain from a hovering Hurricane Florence, exacerbating flooding in the region.
In North Carolina, the eastern part of the state was hit the heaviest. During Hurricane Florence, the coastline was mostly affected by the storm. The below image shows up-to-date Florence-related incidents (top) and Michael-related incidents.
Blue/white icon denotes weather event incidents. Purple star denotes road obstruction incidents
Closures as of 4 p.m. local time include NC 225 at U.S. 176, NC 197 at SR 1349 and U.S. 52 at Main Street. North Carolina traffic updates can be found here.
Meanwhile in South Carolina, the state Department of Transportation reports several blocked highways. SC 414 in Greenville from mile marker 0 to mile marker 17.26 is closed in both directions due to fallen trees and power lines. Near the same area at SC 414 from mile marker 0 to mile marker 10.59 both lanes are blocked due to debris.
SCDOT is warning motorists driving over bridges in Charleston of high winds. For more detailed Hurricane Michael road conditions in South Carolina, click here.
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