Hurricane Michael to strengthen as it targets Gulf Coast

Hurricane Michael to strengthen as it targets Gulf Coast

Hurricane Michael to strengthen as it targets Gulf Coast

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued on Monday for residents in various areas in Florida's Gulf and Bay counties, according to a statement from county emergency officials.

The hurricane center, citing Michael's unsafe trifecta of storm surge, flash flooding and winds, described the seventh hurricane of the Atlantic season as "life-threatening".

Florida State University in Tallahassee announced it was shutting down its campus after midnight on Monday, and will remain closed for the rest of the week.

The hurricane's sustained winds are expected to hit up to 120 miles per hour by late Tuesday, making it a major hurricane - the designation for Category 3 storms and above, on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale.

A hurricane hunter plane that bounced into the swirling eye of Michael off the western tip of Cuba late Monday found wind speeds were rising even as forecasters warned the storm could reach major hurricane status with winds topping 111 miles per hour (179 kph) by Tuesday night.

"Again, Hurricane Michael is forecast to be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades".

Currently, Central Florida is only expected to experience some heavy rain Wednesday and Thursday. Storm surge could reach a monstrous 12 feet in some areas - enough to "easily go over the roofs of some houses", he said.

Currently, the hurricane is a category one moving towards the north at 9 miles per hour.

In a press conference on Monday, he said Hurricane Michael was a "massive storm". "Do not risk your life, leave NOW if you were told to do so", the NWS in Tallahassee, Florida, tweeted Wednesday morning.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 26 counties.

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.

By the time Michael reaches the Carolinas, it will be a weakening tropical storm. He added, "Today it is about life and safety".

A new hurricane is making its way toward Florida and is expected to bring more rainfall to southeastern North Carolina this week.

"Heavy rainfall, wind and storm surge impacts will be possible across portions of the northern Gulf Coast by midweek", according to the hurricane center.

The first rains from Michael already started to soak the Florida Keys on Monday.

A hurricane warning was in place from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida. "You can not hide from this storm".

Additionally, we have a Storm Surge Watch up for Tampa Bay Waters as well as High Surf Advisories, Rip Current Advisories and a Small Craft Advisory.

In neighboring Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey declared an emergency for the entire state on October 8 in anticipation of wind damage, heavy rains and power outages.

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