Hurricane Michael strengthens to Category 2 storm as it barrels toward Fla

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RMS looked at where hurricane Michael is due to make landfall and found that the most similar storms were Category 2 Kate in 1985, which is estimated to have caused around a $1 billion insurance and reinsurance market loss, or Category 3 Eloise in 1975 which is estimated to have resulted in a $3.6 billion insurance and reinsurance industry loss.

Drawing energy from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico with every passing hour, the storm was expected to blow ashore around midday Wednesday near Panama City Beach, along a lightly populated stretch of fishing villages and white-sand spring-break beaches.

The NHC has issued numerous hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge warnings for Florida and its neighboring states of Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama.

Michael was moving north at 12 miles per hour (19 kph) and is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and heavy rain to the northeastern Gulf Coast.

Hurricane Michael is expected to reach Florida's Panhandle region sometime Wednesday, before slowly moving through the bottom half of the southeastern United States over the next day.

The WGNO weather team will continue to monitor the latest information on Hurricane Michael and will continue to bring you the latest updates on-air, online, and on social media.

The hurricane center, citing Michael's risky trifecta of storm surge, flash flooding and winds, described the seventh hurricane of the Atlantic season as "life-threatening". At present, a maximum of 10 inches of rain is forecast to fall over the Florida panhandle and southern Georgia. A storm surge up to 12 feet is possible along portions of Florida's Gulf Coast from Steinhatchee to Apalachicola Bay.

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Storm surge that could be greater than 6 feet is forecast as far south as Crystal River with more than 9 feet into Apalachicola Bay.

Hurricane Michael passed through western Cuba on Monday evening and is projected to hit Florida's Panhandle on Wednesday afternoon.

NWS forecasters also warned of a high rip current risk along the Grand Strand Tuesday.

"For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life".

"This storm can kill you", Scott said.

It made landfall on the coast as a Category 1 hurricane on Sep 14 and drenched some parts of the state with 40 inches of rain.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 26 counties along the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend.

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"Residents in these areas should follow advice given by local officials".

The Commodity Weather Group said Michael was not likely to cause much interruption to oil and gas production. "This storm has the potential to bring devastating impacts to communities across the Panhandle and Big Bend and every family must be prepared".

Hurricane Michael is coming.

The hurricane is expected to be the most powerful storm to strike the southern U.S. state's panhandle in at least a decade. That's just below the threshold for a "major" hurricane, and forecasters say they still expect Michael to get stronger.

Forecasters say Hurricane Michael will strengthen into a major hurricane by late Tuesday as it continues on a risky path towards the southeastern USA state of Florida.

Florida State University announced it was closing for the week on Tuesday, along with schools in Leon County, home to the state capital Tallahassee.

Neighbouring counties within Tallahassee are covered by similar alerts, with hurricane and storm surge warnings in place across the entire state.

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"I just got a crew that came in that are staying also and they're in here helping me get everything buttoned up, tightened down, getting the food secure", Givens said.

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