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Officials in Florida ended mass evacuations Wednesday morning and told remaining residents to stay in place as the powerful Hurricane Michael gained steam in the hours before it was expected to make landfall across the southeastern portion of the United States.

Hurricane Michael was a category 4 storm, which means it was sustaining winds anywhere from 130-156 miles per hour. But forecasters warned that there was a very real possibility of Michael strengthening all the way up to a category 5 designation, with anything in excess of those 156 miles per hour winds.

The National Weather Service has defined a Category 5 storm as “Catastrophic: Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small buildings blown over or away. Power outages for weeks or months.”

The Florida Panhandle region in the northern part of the state was expected to take the brunt of Michael’s beating. A hurricane with the strength of a category 4 storm has never hit the Florida Panhandle, CNN reported on the air Wednesday morning.

Local colleges, including the HBCU Florida A&M University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, were taking careful steps to make sure their students stayed safe.

“Commuter students, their immediate families, and employees who would like to take shelter in the Foster-Tanner Music Building – Band Rehearsal Hall on Pinder Drive (behind the Student Union) are urged to arrive immediately to avoid traveling in heavy winds and rain,” FAMU wrote on its website Tuesday night. “Boxed meals and water have been delivered to all residence halls, as well as shelters housing students, employees and visitors for Wednesday, October 10.”

As has been shown with past powerful hurricanes, Black residents can many times get hit the hardest when strong storms come. That was true just two months ago, when Hurricane Florence slammed the country’s southeastern coast, disproportionately affecting the African-American community in Wilmington, North Carolina.

With Tallahassee being 35 percent Black, including its own mayor who just happens to be leading the polls running to be the state’s next governor, let’s hope that history does not repeat itself with Hurricane Michael.

(Source: NewsOne.com)

 

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