Hurricane Michael set to be strongest storm to ever hit Florida Panhandle

All eyes are on Hurricane Michael. Will it have an impact on Maine

Offshore oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico have evacuated workers, halting almost a fifth of daily production.

The storm surge in some places in Florida could reach more than 10 feet, the NHC warned.

Residents of northwest Florida had until early Tuesday to leave their homes ahead of Hurricane Michael, forecast to crash ashore midweek as a major Category 3 storm with "life-threatening" flash flooding possible. The Carolinas are still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence six weeks ago, and Michael is expected to be orders of magnitude stronger than Florence.

Tallahassee´s Democratic Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is campaigning to succeed Scott as governor in next month´s elections, suspended his campaign and returned to the state capital to oversee storm preparations. The National Hurricane Center forecast up to 30cm of rain in Florida, Georgia and SC. Mike Bettes, a meteorologist with The Weather Channel, noted on Twitter Wednesday morning that his crew was pulling out of Apalachicola, a small coastal community to the right of Michael's projected landfall that will likely bear the brunt of the storm's winds and surge.

"We're a bit inland and out of the fray", said Stogner, adding that he still expected high winds to pummel the city. Floodwaters from Florence destroyed two of the church's buildings and gutted three others.

Some of the storm's most significant early impact was to offshore energy production.

Two Britons in taxi die during Mallorca flash floods
Videos posted online showed cars floating down the street in floodwater that was several feet deep. Hundreds of displaced people are now being forced to shelter in emergency accommodation.

Five drilling rigs have been moved out of the storm's path, according to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

The chance of tornadoes will also increase into Wednesday over parts of the Florida Panhandle, the northern Florida Peninsula and southern Georgia, the agency said.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday approved a pre-landfall emergency declaration at the request of Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott said that he's called up 2,500 members of the National Guard to assist, and has more than 1,000 rescuers at the ready. In Panhandle counties, most state offices, schools and universities were closed for the rest of the week. Lines at gasoline stations grew as people left. It will be only the fourth Category 4 storm to have hit the "panhandle" since 1950: Eloise in 1975, Opal in 1995 and Dennis in 2005.

At least 13 storm-related deaths have been reported in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.

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