Gov. Ivey declares statewide State of Emergency in preparation for Hurricane Michael

Up Next: Tropical Storm Michael

Michael could strengthen into a major hurricane with winds topping 111 miles per hour (178 kph) by Tuesday night before an expected strike on Florida's Panhandle or Big Bend, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of now, the evacuation orders only include Gulf County, Wakulla County and Bay County.

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.

The National Hurricane Center says Michael has become an extremely unsafe Category 4 storm.

After hitting Florida, the storm is forecast to move northeast on Wednesday and Thursday along the Atlantic Coast and batter the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence last month.

Another TT national, Ray Mohammed, said Florida has been through worse storms and was confident the state would ride out Michael.

Heavy rainfall was projected for areas in the storm's path. On Monday afternoon, choppy surf crashed along the shores of Franklin County, Florida.

"We are running out of time", Scott said in a post on Twitter. Forecasters warned that the storm could produce up to a foot of rain in western Cuba, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountainous areas.




Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for the Panhandle and Big Bend areas on Sunday.

In Bay County, Florida, where 120,000 people were ordered to evacuate, the school district tweeted that the decision to cancel school wasn't made lightly, but so many families have heeded the warnings to flee.

Hurricane Michael strengthened into a Category 4 storm as it moved toward the Florida Panhandle, where it could blow ashore as the strongest storm to hit the United States this year.

The chances of tropical storm winds are low but it is possible that strong gusts Tuesday night into Wednesday might reach tropical storm force.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum says the rapid rise of Hurricane Michael led city officials to hold a "sobering" discussion about the potential impact the storm will have on the area.

The storm - which was upgraded to hurricane status earlier Monday - was roughly 520 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida, as of the National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. ET advisory. A hurricane watch is in effect for coastal Alabama and a tropical storm watch is in effect for coastal Mississippi.

A Hurricane Watch has been issued from the Alabama-Florida border eastward to the Suwanee River. "It looks like another big one", he said.

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