Hurricane Michael now Category 3, threatens Florida Panhandle

Mandatory evacuations

Mandatory evacuation orders went into effect for some 120,000 people in Panama City Beach and across other low-lying parts of the Gulf coast. The mandatory orders affected people in Bay County, Citrus County, Dixie County, Franklin County, Gulf County, Jackson County, Levy County, Okaloosa County, Taylor County, Wakulla County and Walton County.

More information on evacuation orders was available on the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s website. Officials in Bay County said Tuesday they had not seen a rush of evacuees clogging roads inland — a worry just hours before Michael’s expected landfall.

Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said he’s “not seeing the level of traffic” he would expect when three-quarters of the county’s residents are under mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders. At a press conference, Scott urged Floridians to heed evacuation orders.

“Evacuations are not fun,” Scott said. “They’re not convenient. There’s nothing good about evacuations other than it’s going to save your life.”

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