Michael Upgraded To Category 4 'Major' Hurricane As It Approaches Florida Panhandle The storm is forecast to be the most destructive to hit the Panhandle in decades and expected to send life-threatening surges of ocean water into coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico.
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Michael Upgraded To Category 4 'Major' Hurricane As It Approaches Florida Panhandle

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Michael Upgraded To Category 4 'Major' Hurricane As It Approaches Florida Panhandle

Michael Upgraded To Category 4 'Major' Hurricane As It Approaches Florida Panhandle

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NOEL KING, HOST:

Hurricane Michael is forecast to be one of the most destructive storms to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades. It could send life-threatening surges of ocean water to coastal areas throughout the state. NPR's Emily Sullivan reports state and local governments are preparing for torrential downpours.

EMILY SULLIVAN, BYLINE: Hurricane Michael will likely make landfall along the Gulf Coast today as a Category 3 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center. The agency said the storm's steady intensification over the past two days despite shifting westerly winds defies traditional logic. They anticipate torrential rains and winds of upwards of 120 miles per hour.

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RICK SCOTT: Hurricane Michael is a massive storm that could bring total devastation to parts of our state, especially in the Panhandle.

SULLIVAN: That's Florida Governor Rick Scott. Scott says he spoke to President Trump on Monday afternoon. He's committed to providing any federal resources Florida may need. FEMA is already on Floridian ground providing assistance in the form of the EPA, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services. The National Hurricane Center has hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge warnings for more than 300 miles of coast. They say these regions can expect eight to 12 feet of storm surge.

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SCOTT: That means the water will come miles inshore and could easily rise over the roofs of houses.

SULLIVAN: The governor has declared a state of emergency in 35 counties and is stressing the need to follow any evacuation orders.

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SCOTT: This storm surge is absolutely deadly. Do not think you can survive it.

SULLIVAN: And local authorities are stressing timely evacuation, too. David Peaton is the deputy director of emergency management in Levy County, which faces the Gulf of Mexico. He spoke to WUFT.

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DAVID PEATON: Storm surge is the No. 1 problem that you could see from these storms. You have rain. You have wind. But storm surge, that's a lot of water that can come onshore.

SULLIVAN: Right now he's working to get county residents protective measures before the hurricane makes landfall today. Meteorologists predict that by Wednesday night or Thursday morning, Micheal's rains are likely to spread into the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic, perhaps bringing more water to areas still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

Emily Sullivan, NPR News.

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