Hurricane Michael prompts Alabama to declare state of emergency

Hurricane Michael prompts Alabama to declare state of emergency

Michael, now a Category 1 hurricane slashing Cuba, is forecast to be a "dangerous major hurricane" when it smacks the US Gulf Coast on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said. Storm surge is not much of a concern because forecasters expect the hurricane to move quickly across the state, Martin said.

Hurricane Michael could bring tropical storm force winds, so residents of the area are encouraged to secure any loose objects.

Residents of northwest Florida had until early Tuesday to leave their homes ahead of Hurricane Michael, forecast to crash ashore midweek as a major Category 3 storm with "life-threatening" flash flooding possible.

"Storm surge is absolutely deadly", Scott said.

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Currently, the hurricane is a category one moving towards the north at 9 miles per hour.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 35 counties, activating 1,250 National Guard troops in preparation for the storm. Landfall will likely occur Wednesday along the Florida panhandle.

Evacuations have been ordered in parts of 10 counties.

All day, long lines wrapped around fuel stations, as people filled up their cars and gas cans.

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"We are running out of time", the Republican governor said on Twitter. "This is game time", Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said.

He said: "Today is about life and safety". Following Hurricane Irma past year, 14 people died when a South Florida nursing home lost power and air conditioning. The fix bill came in at more than $60 billion, ranking Irma among the most costly storms in US history. "That's our biggest concern, if our staff is safe", Hanson said by telephone. He specifically pointed to forecasts of 8-12 feet of storm surge that could reach miles in from shore.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey declared an emergency for the entire state on Monday, anticipating wind damage, heavy rains and power outages. Michael was now a Category 1 hurricane, at the bottom of the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale. "There's nothing between us and this storm but warm water and I think that's what terrifies us about the potential impacts". The center warned heavy rain, risky winds and life-threatening storm surges were possible across Western Cuba on Monday as winds picked up speed on the Gulf Coast. Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum was at the emergency operations center on Monday. "They are their best first responders".

A hurricane warning was issued from the Alabama-Florida border eastward to Suwannee River. Storm surge impacts will extend well outside the cone of concern. That's actually an encouraging total compared to the weather agency's $60 billion damage estimate from Florence. Some parts of the Carolinas - recently deluged by Hurricane Florence - and southern Virginia could see up to 6 inches, the hurricane center said.

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The storm is already lashing Cuba with strong winds and heavy rains.