Hurricane Michael is a storm to watch in Atlantic Canada

Waves begin to build at the Havana seafront

Waves begin to build at the Havana seafront

As of the 8 a.m. advisory, Michael was 395 miles south of Panama City, moving north-northwest at 12 mph.

Hurricane Michael grew stronger Tuesday as it roared toward Florida's Gulf Coast, gaining Category 2 status and threatening to wreak historic devastation on a state walloped by Hurricane Irma's historic rage 13 months ago.

The clockwise churn of an area of high pressure centered over DE is what's keeping Michael on a more northerly path toward the Panhandle and away from South Florida, said AccuWeather senior hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski.

Experts predict that Hurricane Michael could pose a similar threat, with storm surge and inland flooding from intense rainfall ultimately responsible for most of the damage and death. Landfall is expected Wednesday on Florida's northeast Gulf Coast.

With Florence still in mind, Michael may be making an appearance this week. He warned that storm surge could affect areas of Florida not in the storm's direct path.

Hurricane warnings are in effect from the Alabama/Florida state line to the Suwanee River along Florida's Big Bend.

Michael became a major hurricane on Tuesday afternoon as it zipped northward across the eastern Gulf of Mexico. "It's forecast to be a large and unsafe hurricane at landfall". "If it doesn't reach Category 3 but has 110 miles per hour winds, it's still going to be a bad storm". Residents in these areas should follow all advice given by their local officials.

The storm's rapid intensification over the past two days, despite shifting winds, "defies traditional logic", according to hurricane forecasters.

The storm is expected to cause wide-spread power outages, high winds and heavy rain in Alabama.

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President Donald Trump, who was in Orlando delivering an address to a global association of police chiefs, said the federal government was ready and urged residents to be prepared for the worst.

The NHC warned that both could trigger deadly flooding and that residents within the hurricane warning zone should also "prepare for life-threatening winds". With the Tropical Storm Warning in effect across southeast Georgia the Sidney Lanier will have to be monitored.

Hurricane Michael is headed straight for Florida's Panhandle and is expected to make landfall there sometime on Wednesday. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 35 miles (56 kilometers) from the core and tropical-storm-force winds out 175 miles (280 kilometers).

Tens of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate in Wakulla, Gulf and Bay counties.

AccuWeather chief Joel Myers said Michael is forecast to roll through the region much more quickly than did the lingering Florence, which dumped up to 40 inches of rain in some areas.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on Tuesday issued a state of emergency declaration for 92 counties in the state.

"Michael is forecast to be a hurricane, and possibly a major hurricane, when it reaches the northeastern Gulf Coast by mid-week, and storm surge and hurricane watches are now in effect for portions of the area".

US Rep. Neal Dunn, whose district includes Panama City, urged people under evacuation orders to get out before tropical-storm-force winds arrived.

Even neighbors in Alabama were bracing.

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