Hurricane Michael strengthens to a Category 4 and will hit Florida with 140mph winds this afternoon: Officials warn of ‘worst storm in living memory’ to hit the region as more than 375,000 people are told to evacuate

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
By Paul Martin

Hurricane Michael strengthened into a Category 4 storm with winds of up to 145mph on Wednesday
More than 375,000 people in 22 Florida counties were under evacuation orders and advisories
Florida Governor Rick Scott warned Wednesday morning it was now too late to evacuate and urged people to seek refuge immediately
Michael is expected to make landfall on the Florida Panhandle by Wednesday afternoon
It is forecast to bring 145 mph winds, up to a foot of rain and life-threatening storm surge of up to 14 feet
Meteorologists said it had the potential to become one of the worst storms in the history of the region
Multiple airports were closed in Florida on Wednesday and more than 453 flights had been canceled
President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida

By EMILY CRANE
DAILYMAIL.COM
10 October 2018

Monstrous Hurricane Michael has strengthened into a Category 4 storm, just hours before it is expected to smash Florida with towering waves and roof-shredding winds in what could be one of the worst storms in living memory.

More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast had been urged or ordered to evacuate ahead of the hurricane making landfall on the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday.

Michael is forecast to bring 145 mph destructive winds, up to a foot of rain and a life-threatening storm surge of up to 14 feet when it hits around midday. No Category 4 hurricane has ever hit the Panhandle, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Gaining frightening fury overnight, the hurricane’s leading edge began lashing the shoreline with before daybreak, hours before Michael’s center was expected to blow ashore. At 8am, Michael was centered was about 90 miles from Panama City and Apalachicola, moving fast at 13 mph. Tropical storm winds extended 185 miles from the center, and hurricane-force winds reached out 45 miles.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said the hurricane will bring ‘unimaginable devastation’ and warned people in its path that it was now too late to evacuate, adding that he was ‘scared to death’ that some had ignored orders.

‘Hurricane Michael is forecast to be the most destructive hurricane to hit the Florida Panhandle in a century,’ Scott said.

‘The time for evacuating along the coast has come and gone. First responders will not be able to come out in the middle of the storm. If you chose to stay in an evacuation zone, you must SEEK REFUGE IMMEDIATELY.’

The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, echoed the governor’s warning to coastal residents that there might be no time left to evacuate.

‘Unfortunately, this is a hurricane of the worst kind – a rapidly intensifying storm, which gives people very little time to prepare. It also gives them a shorter window to evacuate.’

Residents and tourists were told to flee low-lying areas in at least 22 counties along the shore in Florida’s Panhandle and adjacent Big Bend region.

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