Hurricane Michael will also cause almost one million people to be without power, not just on the coast but inland as well in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. A motion toward the northeast at a faster forward speed is expected later today through Friday night. The previously strongest hurricane to hit the Florida Panhandle had winds of 125 miles per hour, 30 MPH weaker than Michael's.
Forming near the Yucatan Peninsula on Sunday and having first appeared on radars just a day prior, Hurricane Michael is now situated 80 miles south-southwest of Panama City, Florida, where it is set to make landfall, and is moving northward.
Michael was a meteorological brute that sprang quickly from a weekend tropical depression, going from a Category 2 on Tuesday to a Category 4 by the time it came ashore.
It also brought the dangers of a life-threatening storm surge. "Those who stick around to experience storm surge don't typically live to tell about it unfortunately".More news: Minnesota health officials on the lookout for rare nervous system disorder
Officials reported at least one storm-related fatality.
General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command, said some Florida residents may have been surprised by the rapid growth of the storm.
- Staying safe: almost 6,700 people took refuge in 54 shelters in Florida.
Some parts of the Carolinas and southern Virginia, recently deluged by Hurricane Florence, could see up to 6 inches, the hurricane center said.
The forecast cone for Hurricane Michael stretches all the way from Florida up to New Jersey.
There are several ways to measure a hurricane's strength.More news: Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's wedding: How to watch in Canada
"I'm asking all Floridians to stay vigilant throughout tonight and tomorrow as we brace for Hurricane Michael to make landfall".
Some additional strengthening is possible before landfall, which is expected Wednesday afternoon, before weakening as it crosses across the southeastern U.S. Maximum sustained winds have increased to 145 miles per hour.
At 11 a.m., the core of extremely unsafe Hurricane Michael was closing in on the Florida Panhandle in the area of Panama City. The combination of winds and storm surge will absolutely devastate portions of the Florida coastline.
"A potentially catastrophic event is developing", the National Weather Service forecast office serving the Tallahassee area wrote.
President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for all of Florida, freeing up federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses.
- Power outages: 190,000 Florida customers and 32,000 Georgia customers without power.More news: U.S. Stocks Fall Sharply, Tech Sector Leads Declines
After Michael left the Panhandle late Wednesday, Kaylee O'Brien was crying as she sorted through the remains of the apartment she shared with three roommates at Whispering Pines apartments, where the smell of broken pine trees was thick in the air.