Michael strengthens to Category 2 hurricane; expected to intensify

Hurricane-force winds and strong rain were being felt in Cuba. Forecasters expect Michael will be followed by the first true taste of fall weather in North Carolina this year, with sunny skies and high temperatures in the low 70s both Saturday and Sunday.


The hurricane center, citing Michael’s unsafe trifecta of storm surge, flash flooding and winds, described the seventh hurricane of the Atlantic season as “life-threatening”.

A hurricane warning was issued from the Alabama-Florida border eastward to Suwannee River.

Michael is expected to intensify into a category 3 storm, a major hurricane, before making landfall near Panama City, Florida. By 8am on Tuesday (1am Wednesday NZT), top winds had reached 155kmh, and it was forecast to strengthen into a “major” Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of more than 179kmh.

The Category 1 hurricane now has maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. The county offers storm preparation resources on its website.

Speaking alongside emergency officials in Pasco County, Scott said Monday he’s waiving tolls. Hurricane-force winds extend out up to 35 miles (55 kilometers) and tropical-storm-force winds outward about 175 miles (280 kilometers). Democrats including Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is running for governor against Republican Ron DeSantis, called for an extension as the imminent arrival of Michael prompted evacuations and the closing of government offices across the Panhandle. But, he urged residents to stay “vigilant and ready”.

If you live in the region Hurricane Michael will be passing through, you can check the latest forecasts and warnings at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center. A shift eastward would not.

Because of this threat of power outages, Horry County spokeswoman Kelly Moore said residents should make sure they’re prepared to be without electricity.

The Orlando area will get plenty of rain and windy conditions, however.

The Weather Service cautioned Floridians not to focus on the exact track of the storm.

The couple were supposed to get hitched Wednesday in Florida’s Panama City Beach, but Michael’s approach forced mandatory evacuations there.

He said: “Today is about life and safety”.

“I know people are worn out from Florence”, Cooper said at a press briefing Tuesday morning.

Michael surprised forecasters Monday when an investigating flight found the storm more organized than expected and growing stronger.

Hurricane Michael is headed straight for Florida’s Panhandle and is expected to make landfall there sometime on Wednesday.

Residents of Florida’s Panhandle frantically filled sandbags, boarded up homes and secured boats in harbours Monday as they anxiously awaited Hurricane Michael, which forecasters warned could smash into the northeast Gulf Coast as a unsafe major hurricane within days. Heavy rain, storm surge, and downed trees and power lines are also expected along Florida’s western coast.

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

Scott has already declared a state of emergency in 35 counties, and the Florida National Guard has activated 1,250 troops for planning, logistics and emergency response.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott also warned people across northwest Florida that the “monstrous hurricane” was just hours away, bringing deadly risks from high wind, storm surge and heavy rain.


If the National Hurricane Center wind forecast for Michael verifies, landfalling winds of 125mph would tie the hurricane with 1975’s Eloise and an 1882 Pensacola hurricane for the most intense storms to strike the Panhandle on record.

Hurricane Michael takes aim at 300-mile Gulf Coast target	 	 	 			Map courtesy of the National Weather Service