Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Hurricane Michael Causing Minor Coastal Flooding Around Tampa Bay

Hurricane Michael Causing Minor Coastal Flooding Around Tampa Bay

The storm - now located over the Gulf of Mexico - is sweeping toward the Florida coast at around 12 miles per hour and is expected to make landfall on Wednesday, bringing with it "life threatening" storm surges and heavy rainfall, the National Hurricane Center said.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Hurricane Michael on October 8 at 2:47 p.m. EDT (1847 UTC) just after it strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane and analyzed the storm in infrared light.

Florida Governor Rick Scott also warned people across northwest Florida on Tuesday morning (Wednesday NZT) that the "monstrous hurricane" was just hours away, bringing deadly risks from high winds, storm surge and heavy rains.

President Trump has approved Florida's declaration of emergency.

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.

Associated Press journalists watched Michael roll ashore from hotels in Panama City and Panama City Beach. Forecasters expect Michael will be followed by the first true taste of fall weather in North Carolina this year, with sunny skies and high temperatures in the low 70s both Saturday and Sunday. Some strengthening is possible before Michael makes landfall today. The NHC said that it could hit anywhere along the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area. "Storm surge can occur before, during, or after the center of a storm passes through an area".

Michael is forecast to hit the Florida coast Wednesday before moving over Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas Wednesday night and Thursday. Up to a foot of rainfall (30 cm) is forecast for some areas. "The latest minimum central pressure reported by the NOAA aircraft is 968 millibars".

But some officials were anxious by what they weren't seeing - a rush of evacuees.

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Unprecedented? This could be the first time a 4 or stronger hurricane has ever made landfall in the Florida panhandle, per TWC. Rick Scott tweeted, while the sheriff in Panama City's Bay County issued a shelter-in-place order before dawn.

She was unsure how well her old, wood-framed apartment block would hold up. "My greatest concern is not having electricity, and living on a fixed income, losing my food".

A tropical storm warning was issued from Fernandina Beach Florida to South Santee River South Carolina.

Scott said some places could experience a storm surge of between eight and 12 feet of water as Michael blows ashore.

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

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

In Florida, Scott declared a state of emergency for 35 counties, from the Panhandle to Tampa Bay, activated hundreds of Florida National Guard members and waived tolls to encourage evacuations. More than 380,000 homes and businesses were without power at the height of the storm. Some 17,000 utility restoration workers were also on call.

— The human cost: At least one death has been reported in Gadsden County, Florida, where authorities say a tree crashed through a home and crushed a man. "Hopefully more people will leave". Those who planned to stay emptied grocery store shelves of water and other supplies throughout the day on Monday.

As Hurricane Michael gains strength and heads toward Florida, some are seeing an eerie sight popping up in satellite images from the center of the storm.a skull. Isolated areas could get 12 inches and life-threatening flash floods.

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