Florida Governor Rick Scott said that if residents haven’t already left, it’s time to hunker down. Tallahasee Mayor Andrew Gillum said this morning, “What we’re trying to communicate to our folks is: You’ve made your decision. It’s time to hunker down and ride out this storm.”
Most of the hotels in the region are closed and 90 percent of the tourists have evacuated the area prior to the storm.
Hurricane Michael just made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. The storm reached category 4 hurricane level overnight as it barrels towards Florida’s Panhandle.
Along with dangerous flash flooding and disastrous wind damage is the deadly storm surge. This could be the strongest storm to hit the United States this year.
Apalachicola airport recently reported a 72-mph wind gust, and more than 6 feet of surge has been reported in the city and is expected to reach 14 feet.
Over 21,000 in the Panhandle are already without power and trees are being downed by the strong winds, and bridges are starting to close. According to statements from 6 airports, those facilities will soon be closed.
The flight director for NOAAA’s Hurricane Hunters, Ian Sears, flew through the storm this morning and said it was probably one of the strongest he has ever flown through.
Storm warnings and watches are also in effect for Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South and North Carolina.