Hurricane slams Florida panhandle, Georgia — WHAT'S HAPPENING

Hurricane slams Florida panhandle, Georgia — WHAT'S HAPPENING

Hurricane Michael's rapid intensification as it speeds towards Florida's Panhandle has left residents scrambling Tuesday to make final preparations before the storm closes in - and officials warn the storm could grow even stronger in the hours before landfall. The NHC said that it could hit anywhere along the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area.

Forecasters warned of coastal flooding with storm surge and tides projected to raise water levels by as much as eight to 12 feet in some areas.

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

While Florence wrung itself out for days and brought ruinous rains, fast-moving Michael is likely to be more about wind and storm surge. Its sustained winds were just 2 miles per hour (3.2 kph) shy of an extremely rare Category 5.

"Today is the day".

"Mobile homes are very, very scary (during storms)", she told the Tallahassee Democrat.

Tropical storm conditions are expected in the tropical storm warning area by tonight or early Wednesday, and are possible within the tropical storm watch area by that time.

The center is then expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday, and then move northeastward across the southeastern United States Wednesday night and Thursday.

Gulf Breeze, Fla. -resident Cathy Gaudette told FOX10 she was getting gas in Alabama along Interstate 10 before heading back to prepare her home for Michael.

"Hurricane Michael is a monstrous storm", said Florida Gov. Rick Scott, at a Tuesday news conference, adding that it could bring "total devastation to parts of our state, especially in the Panhandle". President Donald Trump has endorsed DeSantis.

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Commercial boats leave the Destin Harbor in Destin, Florida, ahead of Hurricane Michael.

With just a month to go before Election Day, Florida voters in evacuation zones also were given one more day to register to vote, once offices reopen after the storm. About 1,250 National Guard soldiers were aiding the process and more than 4,000 troops placed on standby, Scott tweeted. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles. It also set off transformer explosions and knocked out power to more than 190,000 homes and businesses."We are catching some hell", said Timothy Thomas, who rode out the storm with his wife in their second-floor apartment in Panama City Beach.

"The storm surge is absolutely deadly".

An estimated 6,000 evacuees took cover in emergency shelters, majority in Florida, and that number was expected to swell to 20,000 across five states by week's end, Kieserman said.

Wednesday Governor Cooper declared a "State of Emergency" and announced he has activate the National Guard. "There's nothing between us and this storm but warm water' and I think that's what terrifies us about the potential impacts".

Meteorologists use central pressure readings to gauge a hurricane's strength — the lower the pressure, the stronger the storm.

Some parts of Florida have issued mandatory evacuations for residents. By Friday (Oct. 12), the storm will make its way out over the northern Atlantic, NOAA is now predicting. Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida to Anclote River Florida. He was amazed at how high the water was - inches from the top of the seawall washing over the dock - considering Hurricane Michael is hundreds of miles away.

If you live in the region Hurricane Michael will be passing through, you can check the latest forecasts and warnings at NOAA's National Hurricane Center.

Florida Fish and Wildlife has put 40 additional law enforcement officers on notice to deploy with a variety of special equipment, including boats that can be used for high-water rescues.

Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the most powerful hurricane to blow ashore on the US mainland since Camille in 1969.

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