Residents of the Gulf Coast are bracing for deadly winds, flooding rains and a storm surge as high as 13 feet, as Hurricane Michael is poised to come ashore as the biggest hurricane ever to hit the Florida Panhandle. Michael is forecast to make landfall somewhere between Panama City Beach and Port St. Joe early this afternoon as a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds of 140 miles per hour. Ahead of the storm, Florida Gov. Rick Scott urged residents to heed evacuation orders.
Gov. Rick Scott: “You cannot hide. There is no way to hide from storm surge. It’s impossible. So get prepared, and get out if an evacuation is ordered. Every family must be prepared now.”
Officials warn that the low-lying Florida Panhandle is extremely vulnerable to storm surge, with a geography that could concentrate vast amounts of ocean water and flood homes and businesses. The storm could deliver up to 8 inches of rain to parts of Florida and may spawn tornadoes. Climate scientists say global warming from human activity is raising ocean temperatures, making storms like Michael far more powerful.