Three counties ordered to evacuate as Hurricane Michael barrels toward Florida Panhandle

Up Next: Tropical Storm Michael

Up Next: Tropical Storm Michael

Alexander Charnicharo fishes at the seafront in Havana as Hurricane Michael passes by western Cuba.

7 P.M. Michael continued a slow process of strengthening Monday and at the 7 p.m. intermediate advisory had winds of 85 miles per hour.

By the time Michael reaches the Carolinas, it will be a weakening tropical storm. By Tuesday morning Michael will likely reach Category 2 levels, and Category 3 by Wednesday with winds near 120 miles per hour. This continues the trend of intensification that we have seen with the storm over the past 24 hours. "That's the criticality of following directions". After four days, hurricane experts say, the system should diminish and move off the mid-Atlantic coast. "Take care of them", Scott said. But it is a situation that you need to respect and remain calm and informed. It's as simple as that. Scott advised Gulf Coast residents to prepare for possible evacuation orders, and he put more than 5,000 National Guard soldiers on alert.

These include warnings for life-threatening storm surge, which the National Weather Service forecasts will reach 12 feet in some places.

"This storm will be life threatening and extremely unsafe". "Do not think you can survive it".

"We haven't seen anything like this in the Panhandle in decades", he said. Fong, who lives in Miami, said he has stocked up on essentials and is keeping abreast of news on Michael. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency is also authorized to make appropriate assessments of damages following the storm.

In Alabama, governor Kay Ivey has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of widespread power outages, wind damage and heavy rain.

An are of low pressure in the far western Caribbean is expected to develop into a tropical depression or even a tropical storm on Sunday. The NHC issued a tropical storm watch for the area from the Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island in Florida, as well as the area from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

Steady to rapid strengthening is forecast during the next day or so, and Michael is forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday or Tuesday night.

As the storm moved north it battered Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba with drenching rains and winds of up to 80 miles per hour (130 kph), the Miami-based hurricane centre said.

The storm's center and where it makes landfall with its destructive winds represent just one of several concerns.

Storm surge watches stretch all the way from Pensacola to Tampa, Florida, with maximum storm surge projections now exceeding twelve feet in some locations.

Hurricane Michael is expected to bring storm surges and heavy rainfall when it smashes into Florida midweek.

Speaking alongside emergency officials in Pasco County, Scott said Monday he's waiving tolls.

Many are located in the coastal town of Port St. Joe, the county's largest municipality, lying directly in the hurricane's projected path, she said.

Another national, Neil Fung, said the storm looks like " a major one". Potential impacts to Chatham County may include rain, increased rip currents, and isolated coastal flooding.

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