Strengthening overnight, Hurricane Michael closes in on Florida

Hurricane Michael Latest track of storm

Michael, A Threat to Maine?

The storm has already begun lashing the Gulf Coast area with tropical-storm conditions, and it threatens to be "potentially catastrophic", according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of late Tuesday, storm trackers were still seeing signs of Michael intensifying.

Fortunately the remnants of Michael will remain well offshore, and so we only expect minimal effects from the storm to clip Atlantic Canada.

Waves crash against the Malecon, triggered by the outer bands of Hurricane Michael, as tourists drive past in a classic American vehicle in Havana, Cuba.

CNN reports that as long as Michael maintains its Category 4 status, it'll be the strongest hurricane on record to hit that part of The Sunshine State. "If you are in a coastal area, do not leave your house..." Torrential downpours and flash flooding from the storm over the weekend caused 13 deaths in Central America. "The citizens in Georgia need to wake up and pay attention", he said.

However Michael is expected to bring some rain to Maryland.

Wind shears are winds which impact the sides of a hurricane and can weaken or sometimes dissipate the storm.

"You can not hide from storm surge", Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned at a news conference Tuesday.

On the Florida Panhandle, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan bluntly advised residents who choose to ride out the storm that first responders won't be able to reach them during or immediately after Michael smashes into the coast.

Where has Hurricane Michael hit so far?

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Michael is expected to make landfall to Florida's Big Bend area sometime Wednesday, with "destructive winds" blowing at more than 100 miles per hour.

Sen. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, warned that the storm could bring a "storm surge that can't be survived".

Scott warned about the "unimaginable devastation" that could spread across the coastal regions, warning residents to take the storm's destructive capabilities seriously.

"It's not going to be easy sleeping", she said ruefully after she had picked a narrow space on a linoleum floor in a hallway.

NHC Director Ken Graham said Michael represented a "textbook case" of a hurricane system growing stronger as it drew near shore, in contrast to Hurricane Florence, which struck North Carolina last month after weakening in a slow, halting approach. "This thing happened fast", Scott said.

Tropical Storm warnings and watches have been issued for multiple counties in northeast SC and southeastern North Carolina, the same area hit last month by Hurricane Florence's winds and flash flooding. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (72 kilometers) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (229 kilometers). Winds of up to 120 miles per hour could occur in this storm.

Top sustained winds were reported to be near 140 miles per hour at 5am.

In the small Panhandle city of Apalachicola, Mayor Van Johnson Sr. said the 2,300 residents were frantically preparing for what could be a blow unlike any seen there in decades.

Scott stressed in the days leading up to the storm that evacuation decisions were made by local officials, though Maul, the state emergency head, sent a letter to legislators and local officials Monday night criticizing local preparedness efforts.

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