Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Hurricane Michael strengthens to category three

Hurricane Michael strengthens to category three

As Florence made its way toward the coast of the Carolinas last month, it weakened from a Category 4 to a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 90 miles per hour.

"Michael is upon us, it is time to seek refuge". In all, more than 400 people died in Florida. "Do not try to leave until the storm has passed".

Hurricane Michael is strengthening as it races over the Gulf of Mexico approaching a landfall along Florida's Panhandle.

Even if Michael wasn't making landfall in a particularly vulnerable section of US coastline, it would be an unrecoverable storm for many families. Storm surge warnings were also in place along the Florida and Alabama coasts.

Rainfall could reach up to 30 centimetres and the storm surge could swell to four metres.

Life-threatening storm surges could slam the Florida Gulf Coast, with the deadliest of possibly 9 to 13 feet expected between Mexico Beach and Keaton Beach.

"I think that if people are comparing storms, what was really fascinating was that it was still intensifying when it was making landfall, which is similar to Hurricane Camille also intensifying as it moved inland", says AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.

"It is very unsafe to stand, walk, park or linger under tall trees in a situation like this". Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months. "Trees are top heavy as a result", AccuWeather's Marshall Moss said. "The greatest impacts will be near and east of where the hurricane's eye makes landfall, and particularly along the coastline because of angry seas in a risky storm surge being driven inland by onshore winds".

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Information from the Associated Press was used to supplement this report.

About 2,500 National Guard troops were deployed to assist with evacuations and storm preparations, and more than 4,000 others were on standby.

The storm was located 255 miles south of Panama City and was moving north at 12 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

On the forecast track, Michael was expected to pass northeast through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia on Wednesday Thursday as a tropical storm.

Areas of heavy rainfall.

"My God it's scary".

Timothy Thomas, riding out the storm with his wife in their second-floor apartment in Panama City Beach, said: "We are catching some hell". "We´re just now running out of regular (gasoline)", Danny Hess, an employee at a gas station in Panama City, told local WJHG television. Much of the affected area is rural and known for small tourist cities, beaches and wildlife reserves, as well as the state capital, Tallahassee. "We're seeing up to nine feet of inundation in parts of Apalachicola, Florida, and that wasn't even where Michael made landfall".

"If you decide to stay in your home and a tree falls on your house or the storm surge catches you and you're now calling for help, there's no one that can respond to help you", Morgan said at a news conference.

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