FL Extends Registration Deadline For Voters Threatened By Hurricane Michael

Lamar Ellis
October 10, 2018

Governor Rick Scott´s office said mandatory evacuation orders were in place for parts of Bay County, which includes the popular Panama City beach resort, and areas in nearby Gulf and Franklin counties.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, Michael was about 360 miles south of Panama City, moving north-northwestward at 12 mph.

Parts of Florida could begin feeling tropical storm conditions as early as tonight as Hurricane Michael churns across the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday, headed for a Wednesday landfall along the northeastern Gulf Coast. Heavy rain could trigger the same kind of risky flash flooding in the Big Bend, Panhandle, Georgia and SC, forecasters warned.

"We saw hardly any requests for critical commodities, local officials were still debating whether or not to close businesses and schools, and we barely heard anything regarding sheltering considerations", Maul wrote, adding the state had been "absolutely prepared" for those requests.

The Weather Service has already issued a tropical storm warning for the coast along Georgia and SC nearly as far north as Georgetown.

Florida has had more hurricanes in October than in any other month.

Storm surge that could be greater than 6 feet is forecast as far south as Crystal River with more than 9 feet into Apalachicola Bay.

By 8 a.m. Tuesday, top winds had reached 100 miles per hour (155 kph), and it was forecast to strengthen into a "major" hurricane, with winds topping 111 miles per hour (179 kph).

The forecast for Hurricane Michael changed little overnight with the National Hurricane Center having it make landfall between Fort Walton Beach and the Big Bend region tomorrow.

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The storm is now a Category 3 storm packing winds of more than 120 miles per hour and is expected to grow even more potent before it makes landfall Wednesday, likely near Panama City Beach.

For Volusia and Flagler counties, the hurricane's path to the west will bring an increased chance of showers and thunderstorms, with gusty winds on Wednesday and Thursday.

"The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Michael", said Gov. Nathan Deal in a statement on October 9. Mandatory evacuations were under way in coastal areas, with 1,250 National Guard soldiers aiding the process and more than 4,000 troops placed on standby, Scott tweeted.

Michael could also dump up to a foot of rain over some panhandle communities before it sweeps through the Southeast and goes out to sea over the next few days. Flooding rains of 10 to 20 centimetres, with hurricane force winds and storm surge of up to 3½ metres are in the forecast for the region.

Michael became a major hurricane on Tuesday afternoon as it zipped northward across the eastern Gulf of Mexico. "Take care of them". Lines at gasoline stations grew as people left. Widespread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds and heavy rain are possible.

Storm surges just east of where the center makes landfall could reach eight to 12 feet if the storm comes ashore around high tide.

In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency for 92 counties. Forecasters said tornadoes could spin off the storm and 7.5cm to 15cm of rain could cause flash floods as it barrels over a corner of the country still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida's Democratic nominee for governor, had planned to campaign in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday, but instead threw himself into helping his city's residents fill sandbags and get their storm preparations completed.

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