Hurricane Michael gains strength on course for north Florida

'Running out of time': Florida braces for dangerous floods as Hurricane Michael strengthens

Michael was expected to strengthen to a major category three storm by Tuesday with winds of more than 160km/h, making it one of the most powerful storms to hit the Panhandle of Florida in decades, state officials said.

The speed of the storm - Michael was moving north 12 mph (19 kph) - gave people a dwindling number of hours to prepare or flee before being caught in damaging wind and rain.

Hurricanes are violent storms that can bring devastation to coastal areas, threatening lives, homes and businesses. "You can not hide from this storm".

As of 2 p.m. EDT, Michael had winds of 110 miles per hour (175 kph), just below a Category 3 hurricane, and was getting stronger, drawing energy from Gulf waters in the mid-80s.

Bur forecasters fear serious hazards could also have a huge impact dozens of miles inland, with storm surges possibly flooding rivers while Tallahassee could be battered by winds of 75mph.

The governor activated 750 national guardsman for storm response on Monday, on top of the 500 activated the day before.

Governor Rick Scott´s office said mandatory evacuation orders were in place for parts of Bay County, which includes the popular Panama City beach resort, and areas in nearby Gulf and Franklin counties.

We will be partly cloudy to mostly cloudy today. "This is game time", Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said. Because he owns two businesses in the area, Givens, who lives inland, said he was not evacuating. Hurricane Michael in the Caribbean could have also contributed. The fix bill came in at more than $60 billion, ranking Irma among the most costly storms in USA history. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Storm waters as high as 12 feet could pound the coast, from Indian Pass to the island of Cedar Key, where a hurricane pushed ashore a deadly 10-foot storm surge that killed 100 people in 1986.

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If high winds strike Maryland, the southern and eastern portions of the state are again at the greatest risk.

In addition to several low-lying areas in the Panhandle, states of emergency have been declared for 92 counties across Georgia, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Thus, flood is not expected to be a large loss driver with Michael.

The cone of probability for Hurricane Michael as of 1 a.m. EDT on October 9, 2018.

In North Carolina, still reeling from the destruction of Hurricane Florence last month, Gov. Roy Cooper warned that Michael could bring moderate storm surge, downed trees and power outages to his sodden state.

"I've been talking to mayors, to county commissioners, I think people are taking this serious", Scott said.

Forecasters said Michael's tropical-storm-force winds stretched 370 miles across, with hurricane-strength winds extending up to 35 miles from the center.

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee called Michael "a potentially catastrophic storm" for the capital city. There is also little chance that the storm's path will shift majorly east or west, based on the latest models. "They are their best first responders".

A tropical storm watch is in effect along the southeastern coast of the USA from Fernandina Beach, FL, to South Santee River, SC, the Chassahowitzka River to Anna Maria Island in Florida, including Tampa Bay, and the Mississippi-Alabama border to the mouth of the Pearl River. That's actually an encouraging total compared to the weather agency's $60 billion damage estimate from Florence.

The storm will track up through Florida and Georgia before moving into North Carolina, bringing 2-5 inches of rain along with the threat of flooding and wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour.

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