An enormous storm is headed for the Florida panhandle, with officials warning that it is likely to be the most powerful hurricane to hit the region since records began. Hurricane Michael has risen to a category 4 beast, forcing evacuation orders to be put in place.
“This is the worst storm that our Florida Panhandle has seen in a century,” Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday. “Hurricane Michael is upon us, and now is the time to seek refuge.”
According to CNN, the massive weather front is due to make landfall near Panama City as early as Wednesday afternoon.
The eye of this storm will make landfall on the Panhandle in just hours. Please listen to your local officials for the most up-to-date information.
— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) October 10, 2018
The warnings are severe: flash flooding combined with heavy rain is to be expected, along with storm surges of up to 14 feet. There will also be devastating winds, currently being recorded at around 150 mph, across the Panhandle and much of Alabama and Georgia too.
“That’s going to knock down a lot of trees, say, in the Tallahassee area, all of these areas inland,” warned CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray. “It’s going to be big problems … as far as the wind goes, and then coastal storm surge.”
Incredible surf from Pensacola Beach approx 100 miles from the eye of Michael pic.twitter.com/SyKktTsh9g
— Joe Durant (@joedurant06) October 10, 2018
Evangelist Franklin Graham called for prayer as the storm nears the coastline.
“Will you join me in praying for everyone who is in the path of this dangerous storm?” he wrote on Facebook Wednesday. “Let’s also remember the law enforcement and first responders who help during these natural disasters.”
If you live along the coast and were told to evacuate…this is YOUR LAST CHANCE. Hurricane Michael is an unprecedented event and cannot be compared to any of our previous events. Do not risk your life, leave NOW if you were told to do so. pic.twitter.com/Ns6XoH6Thz
— NWS Tallahassee (@NWSTallahassee) October 10, 2018
Many of the scenes captured on social media look utterly terrifying:
— Marc Weinberg (@MarcWeinbergWX) October 10, 2018
The mayor of Mexico Beach, Florida, has said that his entire town has already lost power due to the severity of the storm.
“It certainly is deteriorating rapidly here,” said Mayor Al Cathey, as reported by The Guardian.
In its public advisory on Hurricane Michael, the National Hurricane Center said that it was “extremely dangerous” and possessed “life-threatening storm surges.”
The Florida National Guard has been mobilized to help with relief efforts.
— FloridaNationalGuard (@FLGuard) October 10, 2018
This is a developing story. Faithwire will keep you posted as more information comes in.