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Hurricane Michael Threatens Homes in Florida

hurricane vortexA fast-moving tropical storm off the Gulf of Mexico was upgraded to a Category 3 Hurricane Michael by the  National Hurricane Center (NHC) on Monday, threatening residences around the Florida panhandle. In an advisory, the center said that the hurricane would make landfall with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour.

Declaring a state emergency in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott directed the national guard to activate 500 guardsmen to assist with the planning and logistics and to prepare for response in the impacted areas, according to a statement issued by the governor's office on Sunday.

According to the NHC advisory, a hurricane watch is in effect for the Alabama-Florida border, with a storm surge expected in the Navarre, Anna Maria Island and Tampa Bay regions of Florida, with the possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline over the next 48 hours.

A Category 3 storm is considered a major hurricane because of its ability to cause damage to life and property. For example, the category 3 Hurricane Sandy in 2012 inflicted nearly $70 billion in damages.

"Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends," the advisory said. "Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes."

"On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move northward near the western tip of Cuba this afternoon and into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by tonight. Michael will move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday and Tuesday night and is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday, and then move northeastward across the southeastern United States Wednesday night and Thursday," NHC said in its advisory on Monday. Additionally, it urged residents to follow the advice given by local officials especially in areas where a storm surge was expected.

With very little notice before the hurricane hits, the Florida State Emergency Response Team (SERT) has activated, enhancing coordination between federal, state and local emergency management agencies, the governor's office said in its statement.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely dangerous," Scott said during a news conference in Southport, Florida, according to The New York Times. "Michael can still change direction and impact any part of the state."

Local officials were considering evacuations for some communities in the path of the hurricane, the Times reported, adding that with Hurricane Michael, officials were particularly concerned about the storm surge in vulnerable regions.

A hurricane of this sort can have a lasting impact on a community. Take for example Hurricane Maria that hit Puerto Rico last year. On November 14-16, Five Star will host the PR18 Summit in San Juan, Puerto Rico to focus on rebuilding efforts and the current state of the island following Hurricane Maria. Housing industry executives from banks, servicers, and suppliers, as well as key stakeholders in the affected regions, local officials, and representatives from related governmental agencies will be in attendance to collaborate and discuss Puerto Rico’s affairs and brainstorm long-term solutions to the housing crisis on the island.

Click below for more information and to register for this event:

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and copy-editor, and a reporter for DS News. She is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her masters degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha, also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas.
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