Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in 26 North Florida counties as soon-to-be Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall this week.
Yesterday, Gov. Rick Scott issued Executive Order 18-276 in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Hamilton, Suwannee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy and Citrus counties.
A state of emergency is intended to ensure that state and local government has ample time, resources and flexibility to get prepared for this storm.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Michael is expected to become a hurricane later today. The system is moving northeastward toward the Gulf of Mexico, and is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday.
Michael is forecast to be near or at major hurricane strength when it reaches the northeastern Gulf of Mexico Wednesday, the NHC said.
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the Alabama-Florida border to Suwanee River Florida. A Storm Surge Watch has been issued from Navarre Florida to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay and a Tropical Storm Watch has been issued from the Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay. A Tropical Storm Watch has also been issued from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.
Michael may produce rainfall in the Panhandle and Big Bend of up to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches.
“This rainfall may lead to life-threatening flash floods,” the NHC said.