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Hurricane Michael Could Become Category 4 Storm, Florida Orders Evacuations.

Hurricane Michael has intensified into a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph and was expected to bring with it a storm surge of 13 feet, ( the National Hurricane Center  said in its latest advisory Tuesday.

The storm was centered roughly 270 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida, and was expected to make a landfall near Panama City, Florida on Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 storm.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has ordered mandatory evacuation along most of Florida's northern Gulf Coast. The State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee were asked to activate in order to enhance coordination between federal, state and local agencies.

President Donald Trump retweeted Scott's message about evacuation late Tuesday.

"The one thing I want to make sure folks understand is that the facilities that are being opened are evacuation centers so they don't have cots, food and water; they are meant to safely house people for 72 hours until the storm passes," Vice President of Operations and Logistics for the American Red Cross, Brad Kieserman said, Accu Weather ( reported.

( The Federal Emergency Management Agency also asked people to check with state and local authorities for the latest on road closures before heading out.

The hurricane was expected to bring sustained winds of 80-100 mph with gusts of 120-130 mph to parts of the Florida Panhandle, which could lead to widespread tree and structural damage. Prolonged power outages can also be expected for several days.

National Weather Service forecast office serving Tallahassee warned of "widespread power outages, downed trees blocking access to roads and endangering individuals, structural damage to homes and businesses, isolated flash flooding and the potential for a few tornadoes."

Small storm surges have already been reported in areas along the Florida Gulf coast.

Rick Knabb, the Weather Channel's hurricane expert said, "This will not be just a coastal event, with dangerous winds and flooding rains spreading far inland over the southeastern U.S. Shelter from hurricane-force winds like you would for a tornado, and don't stay in mobile homes, even for a tropical storm."

Scott took to Twitter on Tuesday to ask the residents to listen to all warnings from local and state officials as the storm approached.

"Hurricane Michael will be here TONIGHT. This is your LAST CHANCE to get prepared for this monstrous and deadly storm. The state is not taking this storm lightly and neither should any family," he said.

Brian McNoldy, a storm researcher at University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science said, "Hurricane Michael is primed for additional strengthening prior to landfall because the key players in the atmosphere and ocean are all conducive for it," Mashable ( reported.

Several schools and universities across the southeastern United States including Florida State University, Troy University and Wallace Community College in Alabama have canceled classes in advance due to the hurricane.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Oct 10, 2018
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