Hurricane Michael has begun lashing the Gulf Coast, battering the Florida Panhandle with torrential rains and 145-mile-per-hour winds.
According to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the Category 4 storm is the worst the area has seen in a century, and the National Weather Service (NWS) reports it may be the strongest recorded storm to make landfall on the Panhandle.
Coastal cities expected to experience Michael’s worst effects include Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City Beach and Apalachicola, but areas inland are preparing to get hit as well, especially if a storm surge occurs, which could result in severe flooding. The NWS has indicated that buildings could face heavy damages and homes may be uninhabitable for a time.
Visit the National Restaurant Association’s Hurricane Resources site
A spokeswoman for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association said the organization, which has created an online hurricane resources page for its members, said the group is also working with several restaurants in Tallahassee to prepare and deliver more than 3,200 meals to the hurricane’s first responders. She also said members who need assistance could email the association at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The hurricane may also reach into southern Georgia and southeast Alabama, pelting them with flooding rain and heavy winds. Millions of residents and business owners in the Florida Panhandle and southern Georgia are also expected to lose power following the storm.
In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for 92 counties. A spokeswoman for the Georgia Restaurant Association said members would find information on proper emergency procedures on the GRA page on Emergency Preparedness.
Read: Find resources to prepare for Hurricane Michael