Florida braced for 'monstrous' Hurricane Michael heading towards coast

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Florida braced for 'monstrous' Hurricane Michael heading towards coast

He doesn't expect evacuations will be needed and the rain forecast is for 2 inches or less.

On the Panhandle, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan warned people against staying in their homes, saying emergency services would not be able to help them. "That's the criticality of following directions".

Now, in his final months of an eight-year tenure as Florida governor, Scott is in the familiar role of warning constituents about the dangers of a Cat-3 hurricane.

The advisories for Hurricane Michael as of October 9, 2018.

Of the elderly and infirm patients, Scott had a blunt message for their caregivers: "If you're responsible for a patient, you're responsible for the patient. You need to take care of yourselves". It's as simple as that. Storm surge rises rapidly Wednesday morning and afternoon.

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

Volusia County Beach Safety secured non-essential equipment off of the beach due to the predicted wind and swell, said spokeswoman Captain Tamara Malphurs.

Hurricane Michael is coming.

He said, "There's nothing between us and this storm but warm water and I think that's what terrifies us about the potential impacts".

Torrential downpours and flash-flooding over the weekend caused 13 deaths in Central America after Michael formed off the coast of northern Honduras.

Michael could also dump up to a foot of rain over some panhandle communities before it sweeps through the Southeast and goes out to sea over the next few days.

A state of emergency has also been declared in neighbouring state Alabama by Governor Kay Ivey.

A fall system tracking through the Maritimes on Thursday and Friday will see some extra tropical moisture added, as it holds hands with Michael.

The Columbia area is expected to see winds around 40 miles per hour during the height of the storm Thursday at about noon, according to the National Weather Service.

It was expected to strengthen into a Category 3 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale before hitting land, said the National Hurricane Center, which classifies storms of Category 3 and above as major hurricanes.

As of 5 a.m. ET, Michael's center was about 420 miles south of Panama City, Florida and 390 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida.

"Up to four to six inches of rain is now expected over the Carolinas, still recovering from the floods caused by Hurricane Florence".

Hurricane Michael is forecast to be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades.

A hurricane warning has been issued for the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River, and a hurricane watch is in effect from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

"Hurricane Michael is a monstrous storm, and the forecast keeps getting more risky", Gov. Rick Scott said at a morning news conference.

Speaking alongside emergency officials in Pasco County, Scott said Monday he's waiving tolls.

Scott declared a state of emergency in 35 of 67 counties but emphasized that evacuation orders are a local responsibility.

Neighbouring counties within Tallahassee are covered by similar alerts, with hurricane and storm surge warnings in place across the entire state.

Florida's voters threatened by Hurricane Michael will get an extra day to register to vote ahead of the state's closely-watched races for governor and U.S. Senate.

Tens of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate in Wakulla, Gulf and Bay counties.

There will be no shelters open in Wakulla County, the sheriff's office warned on Facebook, because they are rated safe only for hurricanes with top sustained winds below 111 miles per hour (178 kph). Michael's Category 3-force winds are strong enough to damage the roofs of houses, uproot trees, and blow down electricity lines.

The sheriff's office says Michael "has the potential to be a historic storm - please take heed".

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