Hurricane Michael is bearing down on the Florida Panhandle and is expected to be a Category 3 storm when it hits land around mid-day Wednesday. The states of Florida, Georgia and Alabama have already declared states of emergency.
The Coast Guard has set Condition Yankee for the Intracoastal Waterway and the ports of Gulfport, Pascagoula, Mobile, Panama City and Pensacola. This means that no vessel may transit or remain in the safety zone without permission from the Captain of the Port. Additionally, no cargo operations are permitted when wind speeds reach 40 miles an hour. Currently Michael is packing winds of 100 mph and expected to increase by the time it hits land.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for 120,000 people and serious flooding is expected from wind, rain and possible tidal surges of up to 12 feet.
This looks like another very serious storm with major threats to life and property. Cargo operations will undoubtedly be disrupted for some period and the storm is expected to move toward the Carolinas and Virginia after it hits land bringing more rain to those already saturated areas.
We will keep you advised of further developments.