|[Published: Tuesday October 09 2018]
US: Florida braces for 'monstrous' Hurricane Michael
FLORIDA, United States 9 Oct (ANA) - Residents of the US state of Florida are boarding up homes and seeking evacuation routes away from Hurricane Michael, forecast to slam ashore midweek with life-threatening waves, winds and rains.
Michael was packing sustained winds of up to 140km/h late on Monday and gaining strength as it skirted past Cuba's western tip, where it is expected to dump as much as 30cm of rain, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountain areas.
At least 13 people have died in Central America over the weekend because of torrential rains and flash flooding caused by the storm.
Currently ranked as a category-1 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson wind scale, Michael could grow into a category-3 storm, with the power to uproot trees, block roads and knock out power for days by the time it hits Florida on Wednesday.
The hurricane is expected to be the most powerful storm to strike the southern US state's panhandle in at least a decade.
Florida's governor Rick Scott called Michael "a monstrous hurricane", and has declared a state of emergency for 35 Florida counties from the panhandle to Tampa Bay.
He has also activated hundreds of Florida National Guard members and waived tolls to encourage those near the coast to evacuate inland.
"We are running out of time," Scott said in a post on Twitter. "TODAY is the day to get a plan, because tomorrow could be too late."
Mandatory evacuations were under way in coastal areas, with 1,250 National Guard soldiers aiding the process and more than 4,000 troops placed on standby, according to the governor's office.(ANA)
FA/ANA/9 October 2018--------