The Oct. 9 footage shows flash flooding in the city as the National Hurricane Center warned of a “life-threatening storm surge” as the hurricane approached land, with 9 to 13 feet of inundation possible between Tyndall Air Force Base and Keaton Beach.
The eye of the hurricane is forecast to hit west of Tallahassee and move north to the city without hitting it head on, being 90 miles southwest of Panama City and moving northwest at 13 miles per hour on Wednesday morning.
“The greatest impacts will be near and east of where the hurricane’s eye makes landfall, and particularly along the coastline because of angry seas in a dangerous storm surge being driven inland by onshore winds,” AccuWeather President Dr. Joel Myers said.
As the threat of floods, high winds, and huge surges combined, Florida Gov. Rick Scott told residents that they should no longer evacuate if they haven’t already.
“The time for evacuating along the coast has come and gone. First responders will not be able to come out in the middle of the storm. If you chose to stay in an evacuation zone, you must SEEK REFUGE IMMEDIATELY,” he said around 5:30 a.m. on Oct. 10.
The time for evacuating along the coast has come and gone. First responders will not be able to come out in the middle of the storm. If you chose to stay in an evacuation zone, you must SEEK REFUGE IMMEDIATELY.
— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) October 10, 2018
#HurricaneMichael is nearing the Florida Panhandle & will have potentially catastrophic impacts – (8 AM EDT) update.
— NWS (@NWS) October 10, 2018
Flash Flooding and High Winds
Most areas will see at least a few feet of storm surge and flash flooding in at least the low-lying areas.
“Our biggest threat is the storm surge of about 2-4 feet,” Tony Hurts, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Ruskin, told the Tampa Bay Times. “There may be some increased wind speed, a little breezier than usual, (and) what you would expect from how far we are from the eye of the storm. There is a threat of isolated tornadoes. Right now it doesn’t look like too great a threat, but it is there.”
Flooding was already wreaking havoc across the Florida Panhandle, prompting officials in Pasco and Hernando counties to issue voluntary evacuations from flood-prone areas.
The center said early Wednesday that the entire Panhandle is in the hurricane warning area and that everyone should prepare for “life-threatening hurricane winds” along with the storm surges and flash flooding.
The hurricane’s wind force was up to 145 miles per hour as it intensified to a Category 4 hurricane.
Myers said the worst flooding could happen in southern Georgia and northern Florida.
“Michael will also bring the risk of flash flooding across the Carolinas, especially across eastern areas hit hard by Florence,” he added.
Video Credit: Ali Sages via Storyful