Energy & Environment

Hurricane Michael makes landfall in Florida as Category 4 storm

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Hurricane Michael made landfall near the Florida panhandle as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday afternoon, bringing sustained winds of more than 150 miles per hour.

The National Weather Service warned that the storm represented a “worst case scenario” for the panhandle, and state, local and federal officials warned residents who had not already evacuated to seek shelter on high ground.

The hurricane, which was listed as a Category 2 storm earlier in the week, continued to gather strength as it approached the mainland. Its wind and pressure readings, as of Wednesday afternoon, put it on the brink of Category 5 status. 

{mosads}The storm continued to gather strength as it approached the panhandle, with sustained winds of up to 155 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

President Trump on Wednesday received a briefing on the storm from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long, during which he marveled at the size of the storm.

“This started very innocently a week ago. This was a small storm … they said it grew into a monster,” Trump said.

The president is scheduled to attend a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Wednesday night but said he’s “totally focused” on the storm. Asked if he intended to alter his travel schedule because of the hurricane, Trump said he’d be making a determination “in the next little while” and noted that he’d heard many people are already lined up for the event.

Trump added that he anticipates visiting areas affected by Hurricane Michael on Sunday or Monday.

“We want to get down there as soon as possible,” he said. “At the same time, I don’t want to go down where we’re interfering with the people — the first responders, the FEMA people.”

Trump on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in Florida ahead of the storm’s arrival, freeing up additional federal resources to assist in recovery efforts.

The president said Wednesday that the federal government sent buses to assist with evacuation efforts, noting that some residents in the affected areas may not have the means to flee their homes.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) warned earlier Wednesday that Hurricane Michael represented “the worst storm that the Florida panhandle has seen in over a century.” 

Scott, as well as the governors of Alabama and Georgia, have all declared emergencies on a state level. Scott previously ordered residents in certain parts of the state to evacuate, but on Wednesday cautioned that the time to do so had come and gone.

Tags Donald Trump Kirstjen Nielsen

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