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Hurricane Michael reaches Category 2, threatens southern US

12 October 2018

As the storm tracks northeast through Florida, Georgia, and SC, local rainfall amounts may exceed 100, 150, and even 200 mm.

A storm surge warning is in effect from the Okaloosa-Walton County line to the Anclote River in Florida. A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life- threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline.

The Republican governor, who is campaigning for a US Senate seat in the November congressional elections, warned of the potential for a deadly storm surge that could be as much as 12 feet (3.7 meters) above normal sea water levels.

Hurricane Michael has grown into a Category 3 hurricane, with sustained winds reaching 120 miles per hour, as it barrels toward northwestern Florida, making it a much stronger storm than Hurricane Florence was when it made landfall as a Category 1 storm drenching the Carolinas last month, according to the National Hurricane Center. The central pressure remains 965 millibars.

The storm - now located over the Gulf of Mexico - is sweeping toward the Florida coast at around 12 miles per hour and is expected to make landfall on Wednesday, bringing with it "life-threatening" storm surges and heavy rainfall, the National Hurricane Centre said.

Scott said the Florida Panhandle, southeast Alabama and southern Georgia will see 4 to 8 inches, with isolated areas facing 12 inches.

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The coast is expected to receive tropical storm force winds.

As residents of coastal Florida evacuate, Hurricane Michael is expected to grow more severe before hitting the area as soon as Wednesday. It's measured by how high the water reaches from the normal astronomical tide. One business owner in Panama Beach City, FL says Tuesday she will stay put, because she wants to ready her business for when the storm passes. HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND -------- STORM SURGE: The combination of a unsafe storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the warning area along the southeast US coast by Wednesday, and possible in the watch area by late Wednesday.

There was no change in the watches and warnings lineup from the previous advisory. But the surging seawater could also create perilous problems far from the coast, raising rivers and bays to unsafe levels as it pushes as much as 10 to 15 miles inland.

While the swiftly moving storm is not expected to linger over Florida for long, widespread heavy downpours will likely track inland to flood-stricken areas of the Carolinas even as rain-gorged rivers there begin to recede, National Weather Service meteorologist Ken Widelski told the conference call. Forecasters said it will unleash damaging wind and rain all the way into the Carolinas, still recovering from Hurricane Florence's epic flooding.

Eastern Georgia, the Carolinas and southern Virginia are expected to receive as much as 6 inches.

More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were urged to evacuate as Michael closed in. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Next complete advisory at 400 AM CDT.

Hurricane Michael reaches Category 2, threatens southern US