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Florida Preparing For Hurricane Michael, Forecast As A 'Dangerous' And 'Major' Storm


Another storm is on track to hit the U.S. Forecasters call it a dangerous major hurricane. Michael is now a Category 1. Florida's Gulf Coast and Big Bend are in its path. Michael could turn into a Category 3 hurricane with winds above 111 miles per hour by the time it makes landfall. Ken Graham is director of the National Hurricane Center, and he says the first winds are expected to hit Florida by early Wednesday morning.

KEN GRAHAM: You have today; you have tomorrow to get ready. And then when these tropical storm force winds arrive, it becomes too dangerous to really start being outside doing your preparations.

CHANG: Florida's governor has declared a state of emergency for some counties on Florida's Gulf Coast. And for many residents there, it's the usual prepare for the worst, hope for the best and, while you're at it, restock your storm supplies.

At a Lowe's in Pensacola, Darlene Hooper says she's not worried about the storm yet.

DARLENE HOOPER: Give me another 24 hours, and I'll get nervous.

CHANG: Still, she is pragmatic about the basic supplies - food, gas and water and one essential item in case the power goes out.

HOOPER: I'm getting charcoal. That's another thing I'm getting today - use my grill to cook and - just like camping I guess.

CHANG: About 200 miles away in Northeast Tallahassee, a worker at Ace Hardware fills steel tanks with propane. Deanna Herndon owns two Ace Hardware stores and reels off what customers are buying.

DEANNA HERNDON: Batteries, water, gas cans and power cords for their generators and things like that. Most of everybody that I dealt with so far has lived through it last year. People pretty much know what to expect.

RODNEY ROBINSON SR: My family's been in Florida since 1806, so this is nothing to me.

CHANG: That's Rodney Robinson Sr. His wife asked him to pick up some water while he was at a Walmart in Tallahassee. He says they're ready for Hurricane Michael.

ROBINSON SR: I was going to buy some soap. That's it. But we know to fill our tubs up with water. I got plenty candles. I got a flashlight and all that stuff.

CHANG: Some localities have already issued evacuation orders. And this afternoon, Governor Rick Scott tweeted, if you are directed to evacuate, leave. Do not wait, those last three words in all caps. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.