Florida State University closing as Hurricane Michael approaches

Jan Cross
October 9, 2018

Michael became a hurricane over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico this morning and is expected to strengthen before striking the Florida Panhandle, perhaps as a unsafe Category 2 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A Storm Surge Watch has been issued from Navarre, Florida, to Anna Maria Island, Florida, including Tampa Bay.

A hurricane watch has been posted for the Florida Gulf Coast, all the way from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida.

Right now, the National Hurricane Center's forecast path shows Michael may make landfall between Pensacola and Destin, Florida, on Wednesday. But within hours Sunday it had gained more punch and its top sustained winds clocked in at 60 mph (95 kph) by late Sunday evening.

Hurricane Michael is now moving into the southern Gulf of Mexico and will strengthen possibly into a Category 2. The storm's tropical storm-force winds extended 175 miles from its center. A hurricane watch is in place from the Alabama-Florida border east to the Suwanee.

On Sunday, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 26 counties in North Florida and around the big Bend, to establish time, resources and flexibility for government agencies to prepare for the storm.

In 2016, Hurricane Hermine, a Category 1 storm, knocked out power for a week or more in the city.

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Storms can force the tide in or out, which means possible flooding, but a recent dry spell locally means the ground can withstand more rainfall, Orrock said. A Category 1 hurricane has sustained winds of 74 to 95 miles per hour.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued on Monday for residents in various areas in Gulf Country, Florida, according to a statement from county emergency officials.

Scott said 500 Florida National Guard members had been activated for planning, logistics and response, and another 5,000 stood at the ready.

The National Hurricane Center expects Michael to move inland in the Panhandle or Big Bend on Wednesday, and then move northeast Wednesday night and Thursday across the Southeast U.S. "I am concerned about the cone of uncertainty as Hurricane Michael is leaning west today".

The following is the latest information on Tropical Storm Michael. It was moving north around 7 miles per hour (11 kph).

"Do not take a chance on storm surge", Scott said.

Since the storm will spend two to three days over the Gulf, which has very warm water temperatures and favorable atmospheric conditions, "there is a real possibility that Michael will strengthen to a major hurricane before landfall", Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the Miami-based storm forecasting hub, wrote in an advisory.

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