Hurricane Michael: Track path of Category 4 storm as it barrels towards Florida

Hurricane Michael is just 100 miles from the coast 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Wednesday 10 October 2018 16:50
Hurricane Michael will be 'worst storm in a century' to hit Florida, says Governor Rick Scott

Hurricane Michael is barrelling towards the Florida panhandle and parts of Alabama and Georgia and is due to make landfall in a few hours.

Governor Rick Scott of Florida said Category 4 Hurricane Michael will cause “unimaginable devastation” and could affect areas as far away as North and South Carolina.

Wind speeds are hovering around 145 mph (233 kmh) with some higher gusts of 150mph.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) said the storm is travelling north as state and emergency management officials warned residents to get to safety.

The agency warned in a tweet “water levels are rising quickly” all along the panhandle’s Gulf Coast.

Mr Scott said it will be the “most destructive storm the state has seen in a century.”

Florida Senator Marco Rubio also said “every storm's different, but this storm is a monstrosity."

The region was hit in recent weeks by Florence, which was originally a Category 4 storm but downgraded to a tropical storm.

Footage from ISS shows Hurricane Michael from space

Florence still caused flooding throughout the Carolinas and damage to several large farms, bridges, and roads.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) Administrator Brock Long noted "any rain through North and South Carolina is not welcomed" as river beds have still not receded from the previous storm.

Mr Long also noted this morning is “the final call” for residents to get to a shelter or evacuate the area completely as roads in the panhandle are not safe to travel.

Those who try to last through "storm surge...don't typically live to tell about it," he said.

The surge is expected to produce waves and flooding in the range of nine to 18 feet (2.7 m to 5.5 m).

"Our priority is saving lives right now," Mr Long said, adding getting power lines back up and running and infrastructure clear and safe will be a priority.

"Power is going to be off for multiple weeks," he warned, adding Michael is "unprecedented.

After Hurricane Maria left Puerto Rico devastated last year, Fema and the administration of Donald Trump were widely criticised for leaving millions of people in the US territory without power for several months.

Mr Long noted residents of the area know "living in the Gulf Coast can be dangerous...these things can happen”.

However, meteorologists and scientists have explained part of the problem is the government not acknowledging the role of climate change in the increased frequency of deadly and costly storms.

As environmental news outlet Grist reported: "six of the seven most damaging hurricanes in US history have hit in the past 10 years".

It is estimated Hurricane Irma, which primarily hit parts of southern Florida last year, cost the state $50bn in damage - the most expensive storm in state history.

Just before Irma made landfall, The Independent spoke with Miami Beach City Engineer Bruce Mowry and others who said Mr Scott ignoring climate change and not adapting urban planning standards around the state only exacerbate the negative effects of hurricanes of that magnitude.

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