Hurricane Michael gathered steam over the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday while moving toward the Florida Panhandle, which is bracing for fierce winds and life-threatening flooding.
Michael is forecast to strike the Florida coast with tropical-storm winds as early as Tuesday night, before making landfall on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm was upgraded Tuesday afternoon to a Category 3, with maximum-sustained winds of 120 miles per hour.
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel)
Michael formed quickly, only reaching hurricane power on Monday, giving Floridians little time to prepare. Gov. Rick Scott warned this will be the worst storm to hit the Panhandle in decades, and he urged people to follow local evacuation orders. Counties along the coast, including Bay, Franklin, Gulf, Wakulla and Citrus, have ordered evacuations, and other countries have urged people to leave.
#HurricaneMichael is now a MAJOR hurricane with the 5pm update. Current intensity is listed at 120 mph and #Michael is forecast to make landfall as a major hurricane sometime late Wednesday morning into Wednesday afternoon. #FLwx #ALwx #GAwx pic.twitter.com/tG44NCDXn3
— NWS Tallahassee (@NWSTallahassee)
“Hurricane Michael is a massive storm that could bring total devastation for parts of our state,” Scott said early Tuesday. He emphasized the threat from flooding, which can pose a greater risk to lives than hurricane winds. A coastal area between Indian Pass and Cedar Key could see storm surge of 8 to 12 feet, according to the hurricane center.
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