Three counties ordered to evacuate as Hurricane Michael barrels toward Florida Panhandle


  • Photo via NOAA
While the National Hurricane Center expects Hurricane Michael to hit the Panhandle as a Category 3 storm, three Florida counties were issued evacuation orders Monday afternoon.

As of now, the evacuation orders only include Gulf County, Wakulla County and Bay County. Life-threatening storm surge warnings have been issued for these areas, as well.

Florida State University has pre-emptively closed their Tallahassee and  Panama City campuses from Tuesday through Thursday in anticipation of the storm.

Hurricane Michael, which was officially named a Category 1 hurricane this morning, is currently located roughly 50 miles south of the west side of Cuba, with a maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. The storm is expected to accelerate into a Category 3 on Tuesday with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph.

According to the NHC, Michael will likely make landfall early Wednesday morning, and is "forecast to be a dangerous major hurricane."

Michael is now the seventh hurricane of the 2018 season, and will be the first major hurricane to hit this area since Hurricane Dennis in 2005.

Currently, Central Florida is only expected to experience some heavy rain Wednesday and Thursday.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter. 

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.