Hurricane Michael strengthens in the Gulf of Mexico, takes aim at Southeastern states
Hurricane Michael strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday, and it currently has parts of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina in its sights.
Hurricane Michael is expected to strengthen into a major hurricane as it moves across the Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center predicts it will make landfall along the Florida panhandle and then track through Georgia and South Carolina as a tropical storm, reaching the Georgia-Carolina border by Thursday morning.
Aiken County Director of Emergency Management Paul Matthews said his department, along with their response partners, will be holding a conference call with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division on Tuesday to discuss potential impacts of the storm.
“As usual, we are checking our equipment, supplies and communications gear,” Matthews said.
Depending on Michael’s strength and future track pattern, the hurricane could bring wind and rain to Aiken. Tropical storm conditions are possible for Aiken on Wednesday night and Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
“Aiken Electric Cooperative will be monitoring weather conditions throughout the next few days due to tropical storm Michael’s projected path,” said Aiken Electric Cooperative in a statement. “All Aiken Electric linemen are prepared and all available contractors are on standby. This storm has the potential to bring heavy winds and rain to our areas and may cause significant outages. Please be prepared.”
For routine updates on Hurricane Michael, visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s website at nhc.noaa.gov.
As of NOAA’s 4 p.m. update Monday, Michael was listed as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has issued an order for a state of emergency for 35 counties, from the Panhandle through to Tampa Bay, freeing up resources and activating 500 members of the Florida National Guard. He urged residents to quickly wrap up final storm preparations Monday, calling it a “monstrous storm” with great destructive potential. He also waived tolls in a move to help coastal dwellers leave.
Also Monday, Gov. Kay Ivey in neighboring Alabama signed an emergency declaration for her entire state, in anticipation of widespread power outages, wind damage and heavy rain.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.