A state of emergency was issued On Monday in Alabama as “dangerous” Hurricane Michael continues to barrel toward the U.S.. It has a potential to hit the Florida Panhandle mid-week.
The storm was upgraded to hurricane status earlier on Monday. It was around 485 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida, as of the 8 p.m. ET advisory of the National Hurricane Center .
The maximum sustained winds of 85 mph were moving north at 12 mph. Michael is currently bringing hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall to the western part of Cuba as storm surge. Warnings of a hurricane have been issued for the northeastern area of the Gulf Coast.
Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist with the National Hurricane Center, wrote in an advisory that there is a real possibility that Michael will strengthen to a major hurricane before landfall after it spends the next two three days over the Gulf of Mexico. That particular region has very warm temperatures and favorable atmospheric conditions.
The Gulf Coast is forecast to see tropical storm conditions on Tuesday night and early Wednesday, ahead of the hurricane activity which is expected for Wednesday.
Kay Ivey, Alabama Gov. on Monday declared a state of emergency for the entire state as the storm has started pushing its way toward the southern U.S.
Ivey stated that Alabama is once again in the path of a hurricane, but Alabamians will once again come together and be prepared for whatever Michael may bring.
The governor also noted that while state officials are prepared for the storm, now is the time for residents in south Alabama to review their emergency preparedness plans and also get prepared. She warned that those in Michael’s path will need to take shelter by Tuesday evening.
Neighboring Florida Gov. Rick Scott also issued a state of emergency on Sunday to 35 counties. Mandatory evacuations were also ordered for residents of the state’s barrier islands, low-lying coastal areas in Gulf, Wakulla & Bay counties and mobile homes.
He also urged residents to quickly wrap up their final storm preparations, calling Michael a “monstrous storm” with a great destructive potential. He also waived off tolls in an attempt to help coastal dwellers leave.
The U.S. military on Monday was moving its aircraft from the Panhandle. An Air Force spokesperson told that approximately 50 F-22 stealth fighter jets — valued close to $150 million each — have been relocated from the Tyndall Air Force Base. The U.S. Navy said it is moving it’s entire training aircraft from Pensacola.