Hurricane Michael is now a powerful Category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of up to 140 mph. The storm has rapidly increased in strength over the Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters over the last 24 hours, and officials fear that it may catch many residents off guard.
While it’s possible that Hurricane Michael could strengthen a bit more before landfall near the Panama City Beach area of Florida later today, regardless of any strengthening, this storm is incredibly dangerous. Michael will also be a historic hurricane, with no Category 4 landfall ever occurring in the Florida Panhandle over the 167 years since we’ve kept records of such storms.
With such a historic, dangerous event taking place just under 4 weeks from the mid-term elections, where Florida is a major battleground state in the House and the Senate, how this storm is handled may play into how voters cast their ballots on November 6.
The Senate race will pit current Florida Governor, Republican Rick Scott against current Democrat Senator Bill Nelson, while there is also a heated race for Florida’s new governor. Tallahassee’s Democrat Mayor Andrew Gillum is taking on former Florida Rep. Ron Desantis, in a battle which has been very close according to recent polls.
While it’s unfortunate that a deadly hurricane could be one of the deciding factors in next month’s elections here in Florida, at least we know everyone is paying attention and going out of their way to make sure the state is prepared for the very worst conditions. At least we hope they are.
Hurricane Michael’s eye is expected to make landfall late this afternoon, and with it, a dangerous storm surge of 13 feet is possible. For those within the path of Michael, we urge you to listen to your local emergency officials, and heed their advice.