'Monstrous' Hurricane Michael gains strength, takes aim at north Florida

'Monstrous' Hurricane Michael gains strength, takes aim at north Florida

The speed of the storm barreling toward the Florida Panhandle - Michael was moving north-northwest at 12 miles per hour (19 kph) - was among the hazards worrying forecasters at the National Hurricane Center on Tuesday morning.

Hurricane Michael has grown into a Category 3 hurricane, with sustained winds reaching 120 miles per hour, as it barrels toward northwestern Florida, making it a much stronger storm than Hurricane Florence was when it made landfall as a Category 1 storm drenching the Carolinas last month, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Petro says the problems with Michael will be compounded since the storm is coming just weeks after Hurricane Florence.

Mr Rick Scott told a news conference on Tuesday: "Hurricane Michael is a monster storm and it keeps getting more unsafe".

During an emergency meeting of the Bay County Commission on Monday night, Sheriff Tommy Ford said people will "not be dragged out of their homes", but reminded those who stay that first responders may not be able to reach them once the storm hits.

The hurricane is expected to make landfall Wednesday in Florida before crossing Georgia and the Carolinas as a weaker storm. "We've got supplies to last us a week".

Florida's Panhandle, from Pensacola to Apalachicola, and its Big Bend area are the zones of greatest concern. "You have rain, you have wind - but storm surge, that's a lot of water that can come onshore", said David Peaton, the assistant director of emergency management in Levy County, in an interview with local station WUFT.

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Forecasters said parts of the Panhandle and Florida's marshy, lightly populated Big Bend area - the crook of Florida's elbow - could see 9 to 13 feet (2.7 to 4 meters) of storm surge.

A hurricane warning was in place from the Okaloosa/Walton county line to the Suwannee River and a tropical storm warning was in effect for north of Fernandina Beach, Fla., to Duck, N.C., and Pamlico and Albemarle sounds.

Mandatory evacuation orders went into effect in Panama City Beach and other low-lying areas in the storm's path. "But in my experience, it's always blown way out of proportion".

Scott also told caregivers at north Florida hospitals and nursing homes to do all they can to assure the safety of the elderly and infirm.

Forecasters said it could bring 3 to 6 inches of rain to Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia, triggering flash flooding in a corner of the country still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

Michael wasn't quite done wreaking havoc in the Caribbean on Tuesday. The governor activated 2,000 members of the Florida National Guard on Tuesday to deal with the fast-moving storm, adding he is very concerned about a potentially "historic" storm surge when it makes landfall. This rainfall could lead to life threatening flash floods. The governor has also warned that there is a "significant" chance of tornadoes. "Take care of them", Scott said.

The Florida governor called Michael "a monstrous storm" and urged residents to listen to officials.

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