PANAMA CITY, Florida – Hurricane Michael will hit the Florida Panhandle today as a possible Category 4 storm, CNN reports. Yesterday, evacuations had been ordered for at least 10 counties in the Sunshine State.
The National Hurricane Center predicted strong winds and storm surges between 9 and 12 feet along the Florida coast from Apalachicola to Cedar Key. Heavy rains, coupled with flooding, likely will impact southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia, with areas in the Carolinas and southern Virginia receiving up to 6 inches of rain.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared states of emergency in 35 counties: Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Calhoun, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Okaloosa, Pasco, Pinellas, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties. The order triggers a federal hours of service waiver that can last up to 30 days for drivers directly assisting with the emergency. A link to the order is here. A link to the amended order is here. Households in these counties that usually receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits will receive benefits early.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey addressed the coming storm by issuing a statewide state of emergency. The proclamation includes an hours of service waiver for drivers assisting with the emergency. The waiver is in effect for 30 days. A link to the proclamation is here.
Georgia also declared a state of emergency for the following counties: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, Baldwin, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bibb, Bleckley, Brantley, Brooks, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Calhoun, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Chattahoochee, Clay, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glascock, Glynn, Grady, Hancock, Houston, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Lanier, Laurens, Lee, Liberty, Long, Lowndes, Macon, Marion, McIntosh, Miller, Mitchell, Montgomery, Muscogee, Peach, Pierce, Pulaski, Quitman, Randolph, Richmond, Schley, Screven, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Tattnall, Taylor, Telfair, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Toombs, Treutlen, Turner, Twiggs, Upson, Ware, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wheeler, Wilcox, Wilkinson and Worth.
The order includes an hours-of-service waiver to ensure that fuel products can continue to be accessible. The order is in effect until October 16. A link to the order is here.
The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a regional emergency declaration (including an hours-of-service waiver) for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The declaration is in effect through November 9, 2018. A link to the waiver is here.
Oil Express reports that “most of the Gulf Coast's energy infrastructure is located west of Hurricane Michael’s currently forecast path, in Louisiana and Texas. … As of Monday, 10 offshore oil and gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico had been evacuated as a precaution due to the hurricane and 324,190 b/d of oil production was shut in.”