Touted as the strongest storm to hit the US this year, Hurricane Michael intensified to an ‘extremely dangerous’ category 4 storm on Wednesday as it flashed towards the state of Florida where it could blow ashore.
According to CNN reports, Florida, Alabama, and Georgia have declared a state of emergency while more than 370,000 people in Florida were ordered to evacuate and move to higher ground.
The National Weather Service said that Hurricane Michael will bring life-threatening storm surge, hurricane force winds, and heavy rainfall along the northeastern Gulf Coast.
Over the weekend, at least 13 people reportedly died in Central America as a result of storm rain and floods.
Florida Governor Rick Scott called Hurricane Michael a “monstrous storm” and urged residents to listen to officials. Schools and state offices in the area will be shut this week. Scott extended a state of emergency to 35 counties and activated 2,500 National Guardsmen.
State officials issued mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders in at least 22 counties on the Florida Gulf Coast.
President Donald Trump approved a pre-landfall emergency declaration to provide federal money and help in Florida.
Heavy rains were forecast for the Carolinas which were doused by Hurricane Florence in September.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told residents, “I know people are fatigued from Florence but don’t let this storm catch you with your guard down.”
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared an emergency for 92 counties, while Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a statewide state of emergency, saying on Twitter it was “in anticipation of widespread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds and heavy rain associated with Hurricane Michael”.
(With agency inputs)