More than 40,000 homes and businesses are without power Wednesday as Hurricane Michael comes in for a hard landing before moving northeast, local public utilities reported.
Michael strengthened into a Category 4 storm late Tuesday night and is expected to batter portions of the Florida Panhandle with maximum winds of nearly 150 miles per hour. Duke Energy estimates the storm could cause close to 200,000 customers to lose power.
The entire Florida Panhandle from Pensacola to Tallahassee, including Interstate 10, will see gusts between 50 and 90 mph and significant tree damage ahead of Michael, which Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott is calling the big one. Other officials are warning Georgia to take shelter as soon as possible.
“Hurricane Michael is forecast to be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades,” Scott told reporters Monday. “Remember, this storm could grow stronger and be a Category 3 hitting our state. This storm will be life-threatening and extremely dangerous.” (RELATED: 400,000 People Without Power As Florence Slams The Carolinas)
Federal Emergency Management Agency head Brock Long also urged Georgians Wednesday to take the storm seriously. “The citizens in Georgia need to wake up and pay attention.” he said at a press briefing. “Bottom line is this storm will be the worst storm Southwest and Central Georgia has seen in many decades, if not the worse storm.”
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