Southeast prepares for Hurricane Michael, 'most destructive storm … in decades'

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 10/9/2018

With a little more than a month left in the Atlantic hurricane season, Hurricane Michael is approaching the Alabama-Florida border as a Category 2 storm. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said the storm could “be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades.” Certain trucking regulations have been lifted for those providing directly to relief efforts.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Michael had reached sustained winds of 110 mph at 2 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday. At the time, the storm was approximately 335 miles south of Panama City, Fla., and moving north at 12 mph.

Certain Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are lifted for those providing direct relief assistance in Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 35 Florida counties. Mandatory evacuations are in place for certain areas in Bay County, Franklin County and Gulf County. Tolls will be suspended at the following facilities: Mid-Bay Bridge and Spence Parkway (Okaloosa County), Garcon Point Bridge (Santa Rosa County), Bob Sikes Toll Bridge (Escambia County), and Orchard Pond Parkway (Leon County).

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency on Monday, Oct. 8. Gov. Nathan Deal followed suit on Tuesday, Oct. 9, which includes 92 counties in Georgia.

“I am concerned about the cone of uncertainty as Hurricane Michael is leaning west today,” Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Hastings said in a statement. “Residents and businesses in coastal Alabama must be vigilant and closely monitor the storm’s path and be prepared for a major hurricane.”

Hurricane warnings are in effect for the Alabama-Florida border to Suwannee River, Fla. A storm surge warning is in effect for Okaloosa-Walton County Lone in Florida to Anclote River, Fla. The center of Michael is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday, then move northeastward across the southeastern U.S. on Wednesday night and Thursday. From there, Michael will move away from the U.S. off the Mid-Atlantic coast by Friday.

Potential peak surges include:

  • Indian Pass, Fla., to Cedar Key, Fla. – 8 to 12 feet.
  • Cedar Key to Crystal River, Fla. – 6 to 8 feet.
  • Okaloosa-Walton County Line to Indian Pass – 6 to 9 feet.
  • Crystal River to Aripeka, Fla. – 4 to 6 feet.
  • Aripeka to Anna Maria Island Fla. (including Tampa Bay) – 2 to 4 feet.
  • Alabama-Florida border to Okaloosa-Walton County Line – 2 to 4 feet.

The Florida Panhandle, Big Bend, southeast Alabama and southern Georgia can expect 4-8 inches of rainfall, with isolated maximums up to 12 inches. Eastern Georgia, the Carolinas and Southern Virginia can get up to 3-6 inches. These rainfall forecasts can lead to life-threatening flash floods.




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