Publicado: Jue, Octubre 11, 2018
Ciencia | Por Aurelio Ontiveros

Hurricane Michael sets sight on Gulf Coast

Hurricane Michael sets sight on Gulf Coast

State officials issued mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders in at least 22 counties on the Florida Gulf Coast.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is the Democratic nominee for governor, had planned to campaign in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday, but he said he would return to Tallahassee to help with storm preparations.

Michael is now a Category 1 hurricane, packing maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour as of late Monday, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Michael was expected to become a major Category 3 storm by Tuesday with winds over 100 miles per hour (160 km per hour), making it the most powerful storm to hit the Panhandle of Florida in over 15 years.

According to the NHC, Michael will likely make landfall early Wednesday morning, and is "forecast to be a unsafe major hurricane". The storm is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and heavy rain to there on Wednesday, and then it heads inland toward Georgia and the Carolinas.

The current track (as of 5 p.m.) by the National Hurricane Center in Miami places the center of the storm passing directly through Panama City Beach, where a hurricane warning already has been issued.

By early Tuesday, Michael's top sustained winds had risen some to 90 miles per hour (144 kph) as it headed north at 12 miles per hour (19 kph).

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The governor says she will continue to monitor Hurricane Michael, along with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. "Do not risk your life, leave NOW if you were told to do so", the NWS in Tallahassee, Florida, tweeted Wednesday morning.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott calls it a "monstrous hurricane" and is warning of a potentially devastating strike sometime Wednesday.

Scott has activated 1,250 members of the Florida National Guard, with another 4,250 on standby.

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. "Residents and businesses in coastal Alabama must be vigilant and closely monitor the storm's path and be prepared for a major hurricane". "Storm surge can occur before, during, or after the center of a storm passes through an area". The primary threat will be tropical storm force winds, which are likely for most of our area.

Michael has left emergency responders in the Sunshine State scrambling to respond.

A storm surge warning - meaning unsafe flooding could strike in the next 36 hours - is in effect for a long swath of Florida's coast, from the Okaloosa-Walton county line east of Pensacola to the Anclote River, just north of Tampa Bay.

In neighboring Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey declared an emergency for the entire state on Monday, anticipating wind damage, heavy rains and power outages.

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