Hurricane Michael gains strength, takes aim at north Florida

Hurricane Michael gains strength, takes aim at north Florida

A fast and furious Hurricane Michael sped towards Florida on Tuesday night with 120mph winds and a potential storm surge of 13 feet, giving tens of thousands of people little time to get out or board up.

A satellite image of Tropical Storm Michael taken Monday.

Where has Hurricane Michael hit so far? The system has now graduated to Category 2 hurricane status and is expected to reach Category 3 (with winds in excess of 110 mph) when it makes its USA mainland landfall on Wednesday afternoon.

The NHC warns that some regions of Florida may experience storm surges of up to 13ft (4m).

"Along our coast, communities are going to see unimaginable devastation", Scott said, with storm surge posing the greatest danger.

Only three other major hurricanes - Eloise in 1975, Opal in 1995 and Dennis in 2005 - had made landfall in the Florida Panhandle since 1950 before Michael arrived with a fury.

The 11:30 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center reports that Hurricane Michael has sustained winds of 150 miles per hour.

Smith could not provide details on the victim.

The area is known for its small beach towns, wildlife reserves and the state capital, Tallahassee.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told residents: "I know people are worn out from Florence, but don't let this storm catch you with your guard down".

"If you're responsible for a patient, you're responsible for the patient", said Scott.

"Where that becomes a factor is with the evacuation of some of the local populations", he said.

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Sitting outside his home, reading a magazine, less than 100 yards from the water's edge in Wynnehaven, he knows Hurricane Michael is now due to make landfall 50 or 60 miles to his east.

"Michael should weaken as it crosses the southeastern United States through Thursday", the NHC said.

As it came ashore, Michael was just shy of a Category 5 - defined as a storm packing wind speeds of 157 miles per hour or above.

With a low barometric pressure recorded at 919 millibars, the measure of a hurricane's force, it ranked as the third strongest storm on record to make landfall in the continental United States.

As a result of the strengthening, the National Weather Service in Tallahassee has issued the regions first ever extreme wind warning effective until 2:15 p.m. EDT.

A hurricane warning was in effect for the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River, with a hurricane watch in place from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

"This situation has NEVER happened before", it said on Twitter. Those areas have still not recovered from the flooding caused by last month's Hurricane Florence.

Trump issued an emergency declaration for Florida, freeing up federal funds for relief operations and providing the assistance of FEMA, which has more than 3,000 people on the ground.

AccuWeather forecasters said the storm will likely hit Georgia has a Category 1 storm.

The storm is expected to unleash coastal storm surges of up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) along Florida's Panhandle and dump as much as a foot (30 cm) of rain across Florida, Georgia and SC, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported.

A year ago saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Harvey, which caused a record-equaling $125 billion in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area.

People in the crosshairs had to make last-minute preparations for the monstrous storm's arrival - and for how to cope in its aftermath.

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