An estimated 120,000 people along the Florida Panhandle were ordered to clear out on Tuesday as Hurricane Michael rapidly picked up steam in the Gulf of Mexico and closed in with winds of 110 miles per hour and a potential storm surge of 12 feet. He said tolls were being suspended in the state's northwest region to ease the evacuation process, and the Florida Highway Patrol is sending almost 350 state troopers to the Panhandle and Big Bend areas. "You can not hide from this storm".
Two years ago, Hurricane Hermine knocked out power for days in Tallahassee and caused widespread flooding as it came up through the Gulf Coast.
Meanwhile, Surfline is offering several live streams of beaches in Florida that may be impacted, including Twin Piers in Manatee County, Anna Maria Island beach, Panama City Beach, and the Venice Beach jetties. Additionally, 500 members of the Florida National Guard have been activated ahead of the storm.
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Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said he's "not seeing the level of traffic" he would expect when three-quarters of the county's residents are under mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders.
The evacuation orders went into effect Tuesday morning for some 120,000 people near the beach and other areas of Bay County. Democrats including Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is running for governor against Republican Ron DeSantis, called for an extension as the imminent arrival of Michael prompted evacuations and the closing of government offices across the Panhandle.
"Today it is about life and safety", Gillum said. The fix bill came in at more than $60 billion, ranking Irma among the most costly storms in USA history.
But despite that, Michael has the potential to become a major hurricane, possibly a Category 3. The storm could inundate more than one-fourth of that coast's dunes, causing flooding behind the protective dune line, said Kara Doran, leader of the USGS Coastal Change Hazards Storm Team.
"We are running out of time", Scott said in a post on Twitter.
In neighboring Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey declared an emergency for the entire state on Monday, anticipating wind damage, heavy rains and power outages. In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal declared a preemptive state of emergency for 92 counties.
Alexander Charnicharo fishes at the seafront in Havana as Hurricane Michael passes by western Cuba on October 8, 2018.
The storm was located about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of Cuba's western tip and 520 miles (837 kilometers) south of Apalachicola, Florida.
With Hurricane Florence still fresh in the minds of North Carolinians, Gov. Roy Cooper urged state residents to prepare for another storm.
"Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning area along the U.S. Gulf Coast by Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions expected by tonight or early Wednesday". "We're going to get storm surge, we have wind, we have a chance of flooding, we have a significant chance of tornadoes". "They are their best first responders".
A tropical storm watch is in effect along the southeastern coast of the USA from Fernandina Beach, FL, to South Santee River, SC, the Chassahowitzka River to Anna Maria Island in Florida, including Tampa Bay, and the Mississippi-Alabama border to the mouth of the Pearl River. That's actually an encouraging total compared to the weather agency's $60 billion damage estimate from Florence.