The National Weather Service is calling Hurricane Michael the “worst case scenario for the Florida Panhandle.”
The Category 4 storm hit the Florida coast midday on Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of over 150 mph.
Less than a day earlier, the storm had been rated Category 2, but quickly ramped up as it neared the shoreline, according to the The Associated Press.
Landfall of #HurricaneMichael is imminent. THIS IS A WORST CASE SCENARIO for the Florida Panhandle!! Listen to your local emergency officials. Stay Inside & Survive!" –NWS Director Dr. Louis Uccellini @NWSDirector pic.twitter.com/EMSZbMaHwW
— National Weather Service (@NWS) October 10, 2018
The storm made landfall near Mexico Beach, a tourist community about midway along the Panhandle, approximately 20 miles southeast of Panama City.
The Weather Channel reported an observing site close to Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City measured wind gusts up to 130 mph.
As a news conference on Wednesday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott put the storm’s strength in perspective:
“This is the worst storm the Florida Panhandle has seen in more than 100 years,” he said. “Again, this is the worst storm that our Florida Panhandle has seen in a century.”
He further advised, “Now the storm is here, it is not safe to travel across the Panhandle. If you are in a coastal area, do not leave your house. The time to evacuate in coastal areas has come and gone.”
Gov. Rick Scott: "Now the storm is here, it is not safe to travel across the Panhandle. If you are in a coastal area, do not leave your house. The time to evacuate in coastal areas has come and gone." pic.twitter.com/YIQT7UceXE
— The Hill (@thehill) October 10, 2018
Following a briefing on Wednesday by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long, President Donald Trump noted how quickly the storm had gained strength.
“This started very innocently a week ago. This was a small storm … they said it grew into a monster,” Trump said, according to The Hill.
He said federal aid would be a balancing act of timing.
“We want to get down there as soon as possible,” he added.
“At the same time, I don’t want to go down where we’re interfering with the people — the first responders, the FEMA people.”
President Trump says he plans to make a decision "over the next little while" about whether to attend his planned rally in Pennsylvania tonight. He adds that he plans to travel to the areas affected by Hurricane Michael on Sunday or Monday https://t.co/mUpnKX85zF pic.twitter.com/MWqWWeSiJE
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 10, 2018
The president told reporters that he will decide later in the day whether he will attend a rally planned for Wednesday night in Pennsylvania.
Trump anticipates that he will travel to the storm-affected areas on Sunday or Monday to survey the damage and recovery efforts, according to The Hill.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.