Hurricane Michael's aftermath

By Brian Ries, Veronica Rocha, Judson Jones, Paul P. Murphy and Joshua Berlinger, CNN

Updated 5:04 p.m. ET, October 12, 2018
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8:04 a.m. ET, October 10, 2018

11 key things to know about this extremely dangerous hurricane

From CNN's Brandon Miller

If you're on the go and looking for a few takeaways for the state of the storm, it's these:

  1. Michael currently has maximum sustained winds of 140 mph, making it a dangerous Category 4.
  2. Further strengthening is expected, and landfall intensity is expected to be 145 mph or greater.
  3. Michael is currently located about 100 miles south of Panama City Beach, FL as of 7 a.m. ET eastern.
  4. Michael’s tropical storm force wind-field has moved into the Florida Panhandle and conditions will be deteriorating over the coast in the next several hours.
  5. Life-threatening storm surge up to 13 feet likely along the Panhandle and Big Bend coast, east of where the storm makes landfall.
  6. Flash flooding is also possible as rainfall totals from 6-10” will stretch from Florida panhandle into Southwestern Georgia
  7. Catastrophic wind damage will result in widespread power outages for millions.
  8. Hurricane Warnings stretch into Southwestern Georgia and cover nearly 4 million people.
  9. Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings extend all the way to the East Coast of Florida, GA and SC, covering an additional 28 million people.
  10. Hurricane-force winds will extend well inland, reaching into Georgia. Tropical-Storm-force winds will follow the storm through the Carolinas.
  11. Rainfall of 4-8” is expected to occur over the Carolinas, along with TS-Force winds, in areas hard hit by Florence last month.
8:04 a.m. ET, October 10, 2018

The potentially deadly surge has begun in Florida

Shell Point, Florida, which sits near the top of Apalachee Bay is projected to get over nine feet of storm surge. The tide monitor at a weather station there is showing a steep increase in water levels -- and low tide will occur around 9:50 a.m. ET.

"The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline," the National Hurricane Center warned in its latest update.

If peak surge were to occur at the time of high tide, some places, such as Tyndall Air Force Base to the Aucilla River, could see as much as 14 feet.

The Apalachicola tide gauge, which sits on the Gulf of Mexico, is already at a moderate flood stage.

7:41 a.m. ET, October 10, 2018

Florida town turns off its whole sewer system in preparation for the storm

The sewer system for the entire town of Apalachicola, Florida, was shut down at 5 p.m. ET yesterday in preparation for the hurricane, Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson tells CNN.

"We don't want to get back to the city and have to pump the bay out of the system that came in from the storm," he told CNN. "Besides that, there's no staff" to operate it.

"We had a mandatory evacuation order," he said. "We are expecting a 12-foot storm surge and we were worried it would inundate the sewer system and when we went to turn it back on, it would have problems."

7:35 a.m. ET, October 10, 2018

Tropical-storm-force winds begin lashing Florida coast

Tropical-storm-force winds began spreading across the Florida Panhandle Wednesday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center's 7 a.m. ET update.

A NOAA buoy 42039, which is floating on its lonesome about 90 miles south-southwest of Panama City, Florida, reported sustained winds of 60 mph and a wind gust of 76 mph, the NHC said.. A wind gust of 54 mph was also recently reported at Apalachicola Regional Airport, it reported.

That's all the say the storm has arrived. As Florida officials are warning up and down the coast, if you're still in town it's time to hunker down and stay off the roads.

7:30 a.m. ET, October 10, 2018

Tallahassee mayor says storm could be strongest in "over a century"

Andrew Gillum, mayor of Tallahassee, is telling residents the time for evacuations is over. It's time to hunker down and ride out the storm in the safest location possible.

The city is set to experience the brunt of Hurricane Michael's winds after it makes landfall. The fear is that the numerous pine and oak trees that blanket the city will be downed, destroying power infrastructure and blocking roads.

"We are confident we can recover as a community, but people have to make the decisions right now to keep themselves and their families as safe as they possibly can," Gillum said. "This will be the strongest storm we've seen in our area in over a century."

7:24 a.m. ET, October 10, 2018

Tallahassee police say every sworn officer is in and ready to work

Preparations are over in Tallahassee and the storm is likely just hours away.

The storm is about to inundate the Big Bend with historic Category 4 winds and catastrophic storm surge, and photos posted by the Tallahassee Police Department show just how many police officers are working to keep residents safe in its path.

"Please say a prayer for everyone who left their families to work in the storm," the department tweeted. "We are here for you."

7:21 a.m. ET, October 10, 2018

Florida governor: It's too late to leave. "Seek refuge immediately"

Florida Governor Rick Scott says the time for evacuating Florida's coast is over. Residents that stayed home need to start seeking refuge immediately -- not evacuate. First responders will not be able to rescue you during the storm, Scott tweeted.

7:08 a.m. ET, October 10, 2018

Panama City official's advice to anyone thinking of riding Michael out: "Hunker down"

Panama City Beach city manager Mario Gisbert advises anyone who may be trying to ride out Hurricane Michael to "find a good, safe room within the house," whether that's a bathroom, a closet, or a hallway, and stay put.

"Play it safe. Try not tot travel," he said. "Stay at home. Stay in a dry spot. Weather it out right now. It's not the time to move."

"We need everybody to just hunker down if they haven’t already left."

7:08 a.m. ET, October 10, 2018

Michael is packing 140 mph winds

Hurricane Michael has continued to strengthen this morning and has sustained winds of 140 mph. This makes Michael and extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane. 

Additional strengthening is expected, according to the National Hurricane Center, before landfall this afternoon.

...EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY 4 MICHAEL STRENGTHENS
FURTHER AS IT HEADS NORTHWARD TOWARD THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE...
...LIFE-THREATENING STORM SURGE...HURRICANE FORCE WINDS...AND HEAVY
RAINFALL EXPECTED ALONG THE NORTHEASTERN GULF COAST...