It is expected to push inland over the Florida Panhandle or Big Bend area on Wednesday before moving toward the southeastern United States on Wednesday night through Thursday, as the above NHC graphic shows.
Mandatory evacuation orders went into effect Tuesday morning for some 120,000 people in Panama City Beach and across other low-lying parts of the coast. Michael is now a strong category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. As an example of that, we can look back to Florence, which saw a rapid drop in overall wind speed before it made landfall in North Carolina, but resulted in severe/fatal flooding anyways. The National Hurricane Center forecast remains its Category 3 status until that point.
Evacuations have been ordered for a number of counties along the Florida Coast.
A major concern also is restoring electricity after what is expected to be widespread power outages. "As Hurricane Michael nears landfall, we are working with state and local officials in Florida to take all necessary precautions", Trump said Monday.
As the storm tracks northeast through Florida, Georgia, and SC, local rainfall amounts may exceed 100, 150, and even 200 mm. TORNADOES: The threat for tornadoes will increase late tonight into Wednesday over parts of the Florida Panhandle, the northern Florida Peninsula, and southern Georgia.
Wakulla County issued a dire warning, saying it won't open any of its shelters - because they're safety-rated only for storms up to Category 2 strength, WFSU reports.
Scott extended a state of emergency to 35 counties and activated 2,500 National Guardsmen.
Some areas along the state's Big Bend area could see unsafe storm surge between six and 12 feet as Michael nears, the Hurricane Center reported.
If you decide to stay in your home and the storm surge catches you and you're now calling for help, there's no one that can respond to help you.
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The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the hurricane was 395 miles (635 kilometers) south of Panama City, Florida, and 365 miles (590 kilometers) south of Apalachicola, Florida.
Unlike Florence, the storm is expected to move through the state quickly, leaving conditions to improve on Friday.
As of the 4 p.m. advisory Tuesday, Michael had winds of 120 miles per hour.
"I've been talking to mayors, to county commissioners, I think people are taking this serious", Scott said.
"Impacts from Hurricane Michael along the Florida Panhandle will include a unsafe storm surge, flooding rainfall and damaging winds".
Hurts said the majority of the impact across Tampa Bay will be felt on Wednesday.
A hurricane warning was in place from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida.
Gov. Rick Scott warned people across northwest Florida at a news conference Tuesday morning that the "monstrous hurricane" was just hours away, bringing deadly risks from high winds, storm surge and heavy rains.
Storm surges of up to 12 feet, which could lead to life-threatening flooding, have been predicted by the NHC on the Florida coast.