Michael was moving north at 12 miles per hour.
"Michael is an extremely risky Category 4 hurricane (and) some additional strengthening is possible before landfall", said a National Weather Center update.
A fast and furious Hurricane Michael sped toward the Florida Panhandle on Tuesday night with 130 miles per hour winds and a potential storm surge of 13 feet, giving tens of thousands of people precious little time to get out or board up.
A hurricane hunter plane that bounced into the swirling eye of Michael off the western tip of Cuba late Monday found wind speeds were rising even as forecasters warned the storm would reach major (Category 3) hurricane status with winds topping 111 miles per hour. A northeastward motion is expected later today, which will push Michael across the southeastern United States.
Where has Hurricane Michael hit so far?
"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.
A tropical storm warning was issued from Fernandina Beach Florida to South Santee River South Carolina. Weakening is expected after the storm makes landfall.
As of 06.00 am, Michael was about 290 kilometers south of Panama City and moving north at 19 kph.
Michael battered parts of Mexico and Cuba with powerful winds and drenching rain on Sunday and into early Monday (local time).
According to the Associated Press, six people were killed in Honduras, four people in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador.
As the storm closed in on the USA, it caused havoc in the Caribbean.
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Officials warned the storm could strengthen even more before making landfall along the Florida Panhandle later Wednesday. Mike Bettes, a meteorologist with The Weather Channel, noted on Twitter Wednesday morning that his crew was pulling out of Apalachicola, a small coastal community to the right of Michael's projected landfall that will likely bear the brunt of the storm's winds and surge.
We do have a chance for severe weather with any squall that moves through and an isolated tornado can not be ruled out.
"If you're responsible for a patient, you're responsible for the patient". Their neighbors were also staying, they said.
Residents are allowed to get 20 sand bags per vehicle. He declared a state of emergency in 35 counties. The Charlotte metropolitan area is at particular risk of flash flooding, due to very high rainfall rates developing tomorrow along with excessive urban runoff.
This storm, he said, is "devastating".
"Think about what we've seen before with storms like Hurricane Irma", he said. Many filled sandbags and boarded up homes.
Scott had additional warnings for residents after the storm passes through - beware of downed power lines and standing water because the danger hasn't ended.
"Weve told those who stayed to have their life jackets on when the storm comes", Tress Dameron, Franklin County emergency management coordinator, told The News Herald in Panama City.
Mandatory evacuation orders went into effect in Panama City Beach and other low-lying areas in the storm's path.
High winds weren't the only danger.
Here are some other facts that show the power of this "monstrous storm". Forecasters also warned spinoff tornadoes would also be a threat. "On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico through tonight", the agency said.