Hurricane Michael swells into “monstrous” storm

Oct 10, 2018, 6:05 AM EDT
A satellite image shows Hurricane Michael moving north in the Gulf of Mexico, heading for a landfall in the Florida Panhandle.

Hurricane Michael has strengthened into an “extremely dangerous” category 4 storm as it nears the state of Florida, where more than 370,000 people have been ordered to evacuate before a potentially catastrophic landfall at about mid-day on Wednesday.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) has warned that Michael could intensify further before the landfall along the Florida Panhandle, bringing life-threatening storm surge, heavy rainfall and hurricane force winds, writes the BBC.

The rains and floods have already claimed 13 lives as the storm sped through the Caribbean and Central America over the weekend, notes The Guardian. Six airports in the Florida Panhandle have been shut down and state-wide emergency has been declared in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Nearly 20 million people are under tropical storm warning across several U.S. states.