Fueled by warm tropical waters, fast-strengthening Michael could gain major hurricane status with winds topping 111 miles per hour (179 kph) before its anticipated landfall Wednesday on the Panhandle or Big Bend area of Florida, forecasters have warned.
"There is an increasing risk of unsafe storm surge, rainfall, and wind impacts over portions of the northern Gulf Coast by mid-week, although it is too soon to specify the exact location and magnitude of these impacts", the forecast discussion said.
Florida State University said its campuses in Tallahassee and Panama City will be closed from Tuesday through Friday.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued an order for a state of emergency for 26 counties to rush preparations in the Florida Panhandle and the Big Bend area, freeing up resources and activating 500 members of the Florida National Guard.
Gillum's mayoral office said he also "reached out to Governor Scott with an update on the city's efforts". Following Hurricane Irma a year ago, 14 people died when a South Florida nursing home lost power and air conditioning. "Take care of them".
In the small Panhandle city of Apalachicola, Mayor Van Johnson Sr. said the 2,300 residents are frantically preparing for a major strike. It's too early for a definitive forecast, but now it appears the system will continue to move north into the Gulf through the day Sunday and come close to the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast before shifting east with an approaching cold front. "Residents in these areas should monitor the progress of this system and follow any advice given by local officials".
Scott warned that Michael could reach land as a Category 2 hurricane with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour.
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Michael continues to battle some strong upper level winds.
High winds weren't the only danger. Outer rain bands of the storm are expected to also produce total rain totals of 2-4 inches (5-10 centimeters) across the Florida Keys through Tuesday.
Even neighbors in Alabama were bracing.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency in anticipation of widespread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds.
By 11 a.m. Monday, Michael's top sustained winds were around 75 miles per hour (120 kph). Tropical storm winds extended out 170 miles (275 kilometers), primarily to the northeast and southeast of the storm's center.
Michael battered parts of Mexico and Cuba with powerful winds and drenching rains on Sunday and into early Monday as it churned in the Caribbean. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations hard or dangerous.A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.Interests elsewhere across the southeastern United States should monitor the progress of Michael.For storm information specific to your area in the United States, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office. Residents can submit a photo of the flooding, as well as a description of the location.