Hurricane Michael gains strength, continues path toward NC

'Potentially catastrophic' Hurricane Michael strengthens to Category 2, targets Florida

Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

If you decide to stay in your home and the storm surge catches you and you're now calling for help, there's no one that can respond to help you.

A storm surge warning is in effect from the Okaloosa-Walton County line to the Anclote River in Florida.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for. The whirlwind hurricane continues to pick up speed, and The National Weather Service in Tallahassee called Michael "potentially catastrophic".

Surges are caused by winds from a storm pushing water toward the shore, according to the National Ocean Service. As a result, the northeastern Gulf Coast is undergoing mandatory evacuations - that includes the Florida Panhandle (stretching into Big Bend) as well as parts of southeast Alabama and southern Georgia. Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 140 miles per hour (225 kph) with higher gusts.

It is forecast by the National Hurricane Center to become a Category 3 storm before coming ashore on Wednesday in either the Panhandle or Big Bend area of the state.

A fast and furious Hurricane Michael sped toward the Florida Panhandle on Tuesday night with 130 miles per hour winds and a potential storm surge of 13 feet, giving tens of thousands of people precious little time to get out or board up. From there, Michael would move northeastward across the southeastern states on Wednesday night and Thursday. Bill Nelson, said a "wall of water" could cause major destruction along the Panhandle. It's measured by how high the water reaches from the normal astronomical tide.

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Among them was Betty Early, 75, a retiree who joined about 300 fellow evacuees huddled on makeshift bedrolls of blankets and collapsed cardboard boxes at an elementary school converted into an American Red Cross shelter in Panama City, near the storm's expected landfall.

As residents of coastal Florida evacuate, Hurricane Michael is expected to grow more severe before hitting the area as soon as Wednesday.

There was no change in the watches and warnings lineup from the previous advisory. "This is going to have structure damaging winds along the coast and hurricane force winds inland".

Tropical storm watches and warnings were raised along the East Coast on Tuesday afternoon. No longer. Michael was expected to bring surging seas up 9 feet (2.75 metres) above ground level at Keaton Beach. Isolated areas could get 12 inches with the threat of life-threatening flash floods.

The storm is likely to dump prodigious amounts of rain over Florida, Alabama and Georgia, as well as the Carolinas - still reeling from post-Florence flooding - and into Virginia. Florida Peninsula, eastern Mid Atlantic, southern New England coast...1-3 inches.

The US goverment's National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued a "life-threatening" alert over Hurricane Michael.

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