Hurricane Michael Closes in on Florida: Damage, Flooding Reported Along Coast as ‘Time to Evacuate Has Come and Gone’
By Sean Breslin
- As Hurricane Michael neared a Florida landfall, officials warned the time to evacuate had passed.
- Flooding and damage was reported Wednesday morning as the storm’s impacts arrived.
- More than 375,000 people along the Gulf Coast in 22 counties have been ordered or urged to evacuate.
- Tens of thousands lost power along the Florida Panhandle prior to landfall.
As Hurricane Michael headed for a catastrophic and unprecedented Category 4 strike on the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend area Wednesday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott shared dire advice: “The time to evacuate has come and gone … SEEK REFUGE IMMEDIATELY.”
Hours before landfall, reports of damage and flooding were relayed from the coast. Residents who refused to evacuate were cut off when bridges were closed, including along St. George Island, where some called for help Wednesday morning but were told crews would not be able to reach them, a National Weather Service storm report said.
By 1 p.m. EDT, more than 100,000 homes and businesses were without power statewide, most of which were in the areas impacted by the storm, according to PowerOutage.us. This included more than 85 percent of customers in Franklin County.