These maps shed light on when and where Hurricane Michael will hit

These maps shed light on when and where Hurricane Michael will hit

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. Up to 15 inches of rain is possible near where the storm makes landfall.

Michael's maximum sustained winds had reached 70 miles per hour, it said.

The hurricane forced Benny and Cindy Guinn to get married a day earlier. As Michael nears landfall, we're sharing all you need to know about the impending storm.

The risk of life-threatening storm surge, flooding rains, and unsafe winds are increasing for the northeastern Gulf Coast.

Tens of thousands of residents and tourists were ordered evacuated from low-lying areas in at least 20 Florida counties stretching along 200 miles (322 km) of shore in the Panhandle and adjacent Big Bend regions. Michael was forecast to push through warm, relatively shallow Gulf of Mexico waters before moving inland over the northern Gulf coast of Florida.

Michael also could dump up to 30 centimetres of rain over some Panhandle communities before it sweeps over Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia on Wednesday and Thursday (Thursday and Friday NZT).

Three Florida Panhandle counties have issued mandatory evacuation orders ahead of Hurricane Michael's expected landfall.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is also the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the November 6 elections, said on Sunday he was cancelling his campaign events and returning to Tallahassee to focus on storm preparations. Scott activated 2,500 National Guard troops and made more than 300 state troopers available for deployment.

The Commodity Weather Group said Michael was not likely to cause much interruption to oil and gas production.

Forecasters said parts of Florida's marshy, lightly populated Big Bend area - the crook of Florida's elbow - could see up to 12 feet of storm surge. But the surging seawater could also create perilous problems far from the coast, raising rivers and bays to unsafe levels as it pushes as much as 10 to 15 miles inland. Winds could gust to 45 miles per hour tomorrow and tomorrow night there, but there will be no storm surge issues, no tornado threat and no structural damage.

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Scott declared an emergency in 35 counties and asked President Donald Trump for help.

"Think about what we've seen before with storms like Hurricane Irma", he said. More than 80 deaths were linked to that storm, according to The Associated Press - including residents of a nursing home. Officially, the National Hurricane Center predicts the hurricane will come ashore with 125mph winds on Wednesday afternoon, but as always with the poorly understood intensification process, there remains some uncertainty. By Friday (Oct. 12), the storm will make its way out over the northern Atlantic, NOAA is now predicting.

Rick Knabb, a former NHC head, urged locals in Michael's path to waste no time in evacuating.

"When you look at computer models, Michael will either be a strong Category 2 or low Category 3, but it doesn't really make a difference if you are talking 5 knots", Kottlowski said.

Peaton says he's working closely with the National Weather Service to provide accurate information and protective measures to his county, which faces the Gulf of Mexico and is especially vulnerable to any flooding produced by Michael.

State offices, schools and universities were to close on Tuesday through the end of the week in panhandle counties.

WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said Tuesday that the storm could cause power outages as its bands of rain and strong winds move into the Triangle.

"We can take quite a bit of rain, but the folks in the Carolinas can't right now", Orrock said. It is expected occur from Wednesday to Thursday as coastal winds turn to the southwest.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles.

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