Hurricane Michael grew into a potentially deadly Category 4 storm on Wednesday before it was due to smash into Florida's Gulf shore with towering waves and roof-shredding winds as 500,000 people were under evacuation orders and advisory's.
The NHC upgraded Michael to a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour as it swirls in the southern Gulf of Mexico.
Michael is forecast to be the most destructive storm to hit the Panhandle in decades.
In terms of wind intensity, that would make it stronger than Hurricane Florence, which had winds of 90 miles per hour when it blew ashore in North Carolina last month.
Some regions of the U.S. are expecting 12in (30cm) of rain, with flash flooding possibly striking along a 300-mile stretch of Florida's coastline.More news: #MeToo: Now Sandhya Mridul accuses Alok Nath of sexual harassment
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Hurricane Michael was centered about 420 miles (675 kilometers) south of Panama City at 5 a.m. Tuesday.
"Today is the day". To prepare, he said people should put essential documents in waterproof bags as they plan to evacuate to a safer area.
The National Hurricane Center has enacted hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge warnings for more than 300 miles of the Florida coast.
A Flash Flood Watch and Tropical Storm Watch have been issued for Wayne County and surrounding areas.
Tolls were being suspended in the state's northwest region to ease the evacuation process, and the Florida Highway Patrol is sending almost 350 state troopers to the Panhandle and Big Bend areas, Scott said.
"Our biggest threat is the storm surge of about 2-4 feet", Hurts said.More news: USA in 'secret deal' with Turkey to release pastor
Hurricane Michael continues to gain strength as it moves through the southern Gulf of Mexico.
Unlike Florence, which ravaged the eastern Carolinas only three weeks ago, Michael is expected to move rapidly once it bores inland to Georgia and SC.
Hurricane Michael is barreling toward the Florida Panhandle as it nears a Category 4 storm, but Central Florida is still expected to feel its impacts. "As Hurricane Michael nears landfall, we are working with state and local officials in Florida to take all necessary precautions", Trump said Monday. "It looks like another big one".
"We expect less rain to fall when compared to Florence", said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Kottlowski. The fast-moving storm is likely to make landfall early Wednesday. However, forecasters always note it is not possible to say where a hurricane will land until it is closer to the coast.
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for.
Wednesday Governor Cooper declared a "State of Emergency" and announced he has activate the National Guard. More than 80 deaths were linked to that storm, according to The Associated Press - including residents of a nursing home. He repeatedly and forcefully urged state residents to evacuate with an intensity not seen Tuesday.More news: Briatore: 'Vettel mistakes prove he is his biggest enemy'
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