Updated Oct. 10, 7:30 a.m. – ANNA MARIA ISLAND – Hurricane Michael developed Tuesday night into a category 4 storm with 140 mph winds, moving north at 13 mph in the Gulf of Mexico.
Manatee County remains under tropical storm, tornado and storm surge watches of up to 2 feet as of 5:45 a.m. Wednesday.
The storm is expected to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle this afternoon, brushing Anna Maria Island.
Anna Maria Elementary School is closed today, while other Manatee County schools are open. Emergency shelters will remain closed, according to the county Emergency Operations Center.
High tide today, Wednesday, Oct. 10, on the Island will be at 1:56 p.m., when storm surge will be greatest, around 2 feet according to NOAA. Up to four inches of rain is expected, with wind gusts of 30-40 mph.
Tuesday, Michael caused high surf, high tides and, in combination with a king tide, some flooding on Anna Maria Island.
Emergency managers advise beachgoers to be aware of dangerous rip currents, and they discourage swimming or surfing.
Manatee County declared a state of emergency Tuesday, following Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s Monday statewide emergency declaration.
The state of emergency allows people on medications to refill prescriptions early in anticipation of storm evacuation under Florida Statute 252.358, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.
It also limits price hikes on gasoline, according to AAA. If there is a “gross disparity” between the current price and what the retailer charged during a 30-day period prior to the storm, it is considered “price gouging” and should be reported to the Attorney General’s office via the Price Gouging Hotline at 1-866-966-7226. During the past 30 days, Florida’s average price for a gallon of gasoline ranged from $2.72-$2.82 per gallon.
A state of emergency also allows local government officials to apply for emergency funding.
For helpful storm-related information, see The Sun’s Hurricane Guide.