Hurricane Michael apps to use during the storm

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

"If you live along some of these rivers, you have to think the waters are going to come up there". Residents in these areas should follow advice given by local officials, and keep tabs on live updates, which are available from CNN.

During a briefing Tuesday, Scott said the state's emergency response center is now active and includes a 24-hour response hotline. He added, "Today it is about life and safety".

Michael was now a category one hurricane.

"I think that hopefully we'll get lucky, but maybe that won't happen", Trump said.

Michael will likely be one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the Florida Panhandle on record.

In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide state of emergency, saying on Twitter that it was "in anticipation of wide-spread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds & heavy rain associated with #HurricaneMichael". "Damaging winds will also extend inland across portions of the Florida Panhandle, southern Georgia, and southeast Alabama as Michael moves inland". Some southern Alabama counties were under a tropical storm watch Monday afternoon.

A tropical storm watch is in effect along the southeastern coast of the US from Fernandina Beach, FL, to South Santee River, SC, the Chassahowitzka River to Anna Maria Island in Florida, including Tampa Bay, and the Mississippi-Alabama border to the mouth of the Pearl River. Some of Michael's moisture will be drawn northward, meaning periods of rain for us Thursday.

Hurricane Michael is now a Category 2 storm and is approaching Category 3 strength. Michael's Category 3-force winds are strong enough to damage the roofs of houses, uproot trees, and blow down electricity lines.

Hurricane Michael has strengthened to a category two storm, with winds reaching in excess of 100mph (155km/h) as it barrels towards the Florida coast. The storm was centered about 30 miles off the western tip of Cuba, and about 520 miles south of Apalachicola.

The hurricane's effects will be felt far from its eye.

On the Florida Panhandle, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan bluntly advised residents who choose to ride out the storm that first responders would not be able to reach them during or immediately after Michael smashes into the coast. Storm surge could be life-threatening, the winds will be destructive, and power outages will last for days or even weeks in the hardest-hit locations. Scott says that as evacuations are ordered, he will waive tolls.

The governor warns that storm surge could be as high as 8-10 feet (2.4-3 meters) in some parts of the Panhandle and 2-4 feet (0.6-1.2 meters) in the Tampa Bay area.

A top emergency manager expressed concern about storm preparations.

"We expect Hurricane Michael to make landfall between Panama City, Florida, and Apalachicola, Florida, sometime later Wednesday or Wednesday night", according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

Residents of barrier islands, mobile homes and low-lying coastal areas in Gulf, Wakulla and Bay counties were ordered to evacuate by late Monday or early Tuesday.

The hurricane has undergone a period of "rapid intensification", defined as a 35 mph increase in sustained winds over a 24-hour period.

Authorities told residents and tourists in at least 20 Florida counties to evacuate coastal areas along the 200-mile (322 km) long Panhandle and adjacent Big Bend region. "This storm has the potential to bring devastating impacts to communities across the Panhandle and Big Bend and every family must be prepared".

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