EOS Alerts 10-10-2018
United States: Hurricane Michael Becomes Category 4 Storm
On 10 October, Hurricane Michael strengthened to a Category 4 storm, making it possibly the strongest storm to ever hit the Florida panhandle. Category-4 storms are considered highly dangerous with winds up to 250km/h, according to the US National Hurricane Centre. Mandatory evacuation notices are in effect for 120,000 residents in the Florida panhandle and "Big Bend" counties of Bay, Citrus, Dixie, Franklin. Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Levy, Okaloosa, Taylor, Wakulla, and Walton. Officials are warning residents to heed evacuation notices and confirm shelter statuses, as some shelters are not rated for storms above Category 2.
The US National Weather Service (NWS) has warned of "extremely dangerous" conditions, specifically life-threatening storm surge, damaging wind, flooding rain and conditions favourable for tornados. Storm surges of up to 4m above tide levels are forecast in Florida from Mexico Beach to Keaton Beach with up to 2.7m of storm surge beyond that from Destin to Cedar Key. Hurricane Michael is forecast to drop large amounts of rain capable of producing flash floods across the south-eastern US.
On 10 October, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Smartraveller service issued updated travel advice for the United States. “Hurricane Michael is expected to impact the Florida Gulf Coast on 10 October. Anticipate disruptions to essential services and transport networks, including commercial flights. Monitor media for information and follow the instructions of local authorities. The level of our advice has not changed. Exercise normal safety precautions in the United States of America, including Alaska and the Hawaiian Islands. Reconsider your need to travel to the US Virgin Islands and the US territory of Puerto Rico.”