Hurricane Michael strengthens as thousands flee

Panovich: Hurricane Michael will bring heavy rain to the Carolinas

Any time a tropical system, and it's remnants, move north up the East Coast we need to be concerned here in ME for wind and rain.

The storm's steady intensification over the past two days, despite shifting winds, "defies traditional logic" according to the agency.

The rainfall could lead to "life-threatening" flash floods and mudslides in mountainous regions, the hurricane center said.

The cone of probability for Hurricane Michael as of 1 a.m. EDT on October 9, 2018.

The storm's winds have increased to about 130 miles per hour with higher gusts, the National Hurricane Center said.

"A hurricane warning has been issued for portions of the Florida Gulf Coast, and everyone in these areas should prepare for life-threatening winds associated with the core of Michael".

Previous year saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Hurricane Harvey - causing a record-equaling US$125 billion in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area.

On its current track, it would make landfall somewhere along a coastline that includes the cities and towns of Fort Walton Beach, Panama City Beach, Port St. Joe, St. Teresa and the wildlife reserves bordering Apalachee Bay. The center of Michael is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday.

With Florence still in mind, Michael may be making an appearance this week.

By 8 p.m. Monday, Michael's top sustained winds were around 85 miles per hour (140 kph) as it headed north at 12 miles per hour (19 kph).

The storm is about 270 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida, and moving north at 12 mph.

Michael battered parts of Mexico and Cuba with powerful winds and drenching rain on Sunday and into early Monday (local time).

Panthers QB Cam Newton declares he’s standing by new teammate, Eric Reid
Carolina also got a clutch play out of veteran Jarius Wright, who seems to be good for at least one of them every game. Center Ryan Kalil was shaken up late in the fourth quarter and did not return as Tyler Larsen finished the game.

Michael was a Category 1 hurricane but could make landfall as a Category 3, and forecasters warned it could send down 10 to 30 centimetres of rain. But the surging seawater could also create perilous problems far from the coast, raising rivers and bays to unsafe levels as it pushes as much as 10 to 15 miles inland. Most of the rain was blamed on a low-pressure system off the Pacific coast, but Michael in the Caribbean could have also contributed.

Michael's trek to Florida is also affecting politics in the state.

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan bluntly advised residents choosing to ride it out that first-responders won't be able to reach them while Michael smashes into the coast.

"This storm can kill you".

In North Carolina, still reeling from the destruction of Hurricane Florence last month, Gov. Roy Cooper warned that Michael could bring moderate storm surge, downed trees and power outages to his sodden state.

Forecasters in Alabama warned of possible tornados.

"My expectation is if you're responsible for a patient, you're responsible for the patient. Don't take a chance", he said.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida's Democratic nominee for governor, had planned to campaign in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday, but instead threw himself into helping his city's residents fill sandbags and get their storm preparations completed.

"Guess what? That's today", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said. The storm is expected to strengthen as it moves through the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Cars there were in long lines at one of the town's gas stations Tuesday.

With a number of counties ordering evacuations, Scott waived highway tolls in the northwest part of the state.

By 1800 GMT it was nearing the western tip of Cuba, off Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, and was forecast to push through the Gulf of Mexico before moving inland over the northern Gulf Coast of Florida, the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said.

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