The National Hurricane Center upgraded the storm with its 11 a.m. advisory Tuesday, recording maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.
Hurricane Michael quickly intensified into a Category 2 over warm Gulf of Mexico waters on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ Time) amid fears it would strike Florida on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) as an even stronger hurricane.
"Minimal impact" is a lousy title for an action film but a good prediction for a hurricane, and that's what Storm Team 4 meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts said was coming to the D.C. area.
On its current track, it would make landfall somewhere along a coastline that includes the cities and towns of Fort Walton Beach, Panama City Beach, Port St. Joe, St. Teresa and the wildlife reserves bordering Apalachee Bay.
After it makes landfall, the storm is predicted to pass into Georgia, where Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday issued a state of emergency covering 92 counties - almost the entire lower two-thirds of his state.
"Life-threatening storm surge is likely along portions of the coasts of the Florida Panhandle, Big Bend, and Nature Coast, and a storm surge warning is in effect for these areas".
Michael became a major hurricane on Tuesday afternoon as it zipped northward across the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
Tropical storm warning issued for Midlands ahead of Hurricane Michael | News & Observer
We still encourage you to watch for any potential forecast changes over the next 24 hours as Micheal gets closer to the coast. He specifically pointed to forecasts of 8-12 feet of storm surge that could reach miles in from shore. "Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other unsafe conditions".
The storm's rapid intensification over the past two days, despite shifting winds, "defies traditional logic", according to hurricane forecasters.
"This storm has the potential to be a historic storm, please take heed", the sheriff's office said in the post. Flooding rains of 10 to 20 centimetres, with hurricane force winds and storm surge of up to 3½ metres are in the forecast for the region.
Tens of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate in Wakulla, Gulf and Bay counties. A hurricane watch is in effect from the Alabama-Florida border eastward to the Suwanee River, and tropical storm watches have been issued from the Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island and from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.
The center warned heavy rain, risky winds and life-threatening storm surges were possible across Western Cuba on Monday as winds picked up speed on the Gulf Coast.
Panama City Beach fire department chief Larry Couch urged residents to evacuate.
The alert came as the tropical storm system strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane, packing maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometres per hour, earlier in the day.
Scott extended a state of emergency to 35 counties and activated 2,500 National Guardsmen for hurricane duty.
In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal declared a preemptive state of emergency for 92 counties.
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US officials have thus far said the penalties will remain in place until the North's denuclearization is fully verified. Pompeo was hit by North Korean officials a few months ago as having a "gangster-like demand for denuclearization".