US: Hurricane Michael Strengthens, Florida Braces for Worst
Hurricane Michael intensified Tuesday as it barreled toward the Florida coast, becoming a major Category 3 storm capable of "devastating damage" which the state's governor warned could be the worst in decades.
Michael packed winds of 195 kilometers per hour as it aimed for the Florida Panhandle, the finger-shaped strip of land on the Gulf of Mexico.
The storm was expected to make landfall on Wednesday afternoon, bringing hurricane force winds, a "life-threatening storm surge" and heavy rainfall, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center [NHC] said.
Meanwhile, Rick Knabb, a former NHC head, urged locals in Michael's path to waste no time in evacuating.
Governor Rick Scott, who has activated 2,500 members of the National Guard in response, echoed Knabb's assessment saying that: "Hurricane Michael poses a deadly threat [as the] most destructive storm to hit the Florida panhandle in decades."
Panama City Beach fire department Chief Larry Couch urged residents to evacuate.
President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration for the state, freeing up federal funds for relief operations and providing the assistance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA].
State officials issued disaster declarations in Alabama and Georgia, both of which are also expected to feel the impact from the storm.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team