PANAMA CITY, Florida (AP) – The Latest on Hurricane Michael (all times Eastern):
Florida Gov. Rick Scott says the impact of Hurricane Michael will be “horrible,” the worst storm to hit the Panhandle in a century.
Scott said Wednesday he’s “scared to death” that people in places such as St. George Island along the state’s coast had ignored evacuation orders.
He said he hopes that no one kept children with them as they chose to ride it out, but the time to evacuate from coastal areas has “come and gone.”
The governor said state authorities are now focusing on the recovery effort once the fast-moving storm blows through. He has activated up 3,500 members of the Florida National Guard and says thousands of utility workers are on stand-by.
#HurricaneMichael just hours away from a catastrophic, unprecedented #Florida Panhandle, Big Bend Cat. 4 landfall. *Last chance* to get to a safe place, if told to evacuate. No long-time resident of the area has ever experienced a #hurricane this intense. https://t.co/CmWwVclgXD pic.twitter.com/uNVTQBkqIu
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) October 10, 2018
Huge waves are pounding the shore at Panama City Beach, where officials have announced they are now unable to respond to any calls for service. Just inland in Panama City, the fire department says it will respond to only life-threatening emergencies and only within the city limits.
The biggest waves are shooting frothy green water between homes and up to the base of wooden stairs over the dunes and the skies appear menacing as tropical-storm-force winds lash the coast. Landfall is expected about midday Wednesday.
Michael is now a Category 4 hurricane and so powerful that it is expected to remain a hurricane as it moves over central Georgia early Thursday. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has issued a state of emergency for 92 of the state’s 159 counties. A hurricane warning is effect in southwestern Georgia. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the entire Georgia coast, as well as much of the inland areas.