Michael upgraded to a Category 3 major hurricane with 120 miles per hour winds

A house damaged by Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach Fla. on Oct. 11 2018. MUST CREDIT Bloomberg

As Michael moved over open water, energy companies halted almost one-fifth of Gulf of Mexico oil production and evacuated personnel from 10 platforms on Monday.

The Weather Service has already issued a tropical storm warning for the coast along Georgia and SC nearly as far north as Georgetown.

Michael was moving north at 12 miles per hour (19 kph) and is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and heavy rain to the northeastern Gulf Coast.

The forecast for Hurricane Michael changed little overnight with the National Hurricane Center having it make landfall between Fort Walton Beach and the Big Bend region tomorrow.

The WGNO weather team will continue to monitor the latest information on Hurricane Michael and will continue to bring you the latest updates on-air, online, and on social media.

A hurricane warning is in effect from the Suwannee River on Florida's Gulf Coast west to the Alabama / Florida line.

Authorities told tens of thousands of residents and tourists in at least 20 Florida counties to evacuate coastal areas along the 200-mile (322 km) long Panhandle and Big Bend region.

Rick Scott called Michael a "monstrous hurricane" with devastating potential from high winds, storm surge and heavy rains.

Currently, the bulk of the forecast model guidance has the storm tracking southeast of the Maritimes, as well as Newfoundland this weekend.

The couple were supposed to get hitched Wednesday in Florida's Panama City Beach, but Michael's approach forced mandatory evacuations there.

"Folks are ready from the government side, but we need citizens to also be ready", said Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is the Democratic candidate for governor in next month's election.

Weather forecast: PM thunderstorms expected

People in areas that could be affected should take no chances against such a powerful surge, Scott said, adding, "No one's going to survive", such a wall of water.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely unsafe", Scott said on Sunday.

If the National Hurricane Center wind forecast for Michael verifies, landfalling winds of 125mph would tie the hurricane with 1975's Eloise and an 1882 Pensacola hurricane for the most intense storms to strike the Panhandle on record.

Hurricane Michael escalated somewhat quickly.

"Hurricane Michael is a monstrous storm and the forecast just keeps getting more unsafe, we are now just hours from seeing impacts", Florida Governor Rick Scott said on Tuesday afternoon. "As Hurricane Michael nears landfall, we are working with state and local officials in Florida to take all necessary precautions", Trump said on Monday.

"Because of the damage caused by Hurricane Florence, and the fact that there's still some standing water in places, we have to be that much more alert about the damage that Hurricane Matthew could do", Cooper said. "There's nothing between us and this storm but warm water' and I think that's what terrifies us about the potential impacts".

Further explaining, "A fast-moving storm mitigates the possibility of high rainfall totals that would be caused by a slow-moving or stalled storm". That's just below the threshold for a "major" hurricane, and forecasters say they still expect Michael to get stronger.

In Florida, state offices, schools and universities were set to close on Tuesday through the end of the week in panhandle counties. That's five times higher than runner-up Louisiana, which has experienced seven October hurricane hits, including three major hurricanes, according to National Hurricane Center records.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for. Many gas stations in Tallahassee had run out of fuel, including the Quick "N" Save, which was also stripped clean of bottled water and down to about two dozen bags of ice.

Torrential downpours and flash flooding have already killed 13 people in central America after Michael moved inland off northern Honduras.




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