Hurricane Michael expected to rapidly intensify; Tropical Storm Watch for Mississippi

Ivey issues state of emergency for Alabama

"When you look at computer models, Michael will either be a strong Category 2 or low Category 3, but it doesn't really make a difference if you are talking 5 knots", Kottlowski said. Anticipated landfall is expected Wednesday on the northeast Gulf Coast, where authorities warned of a potentially devastating strike.

"If you decide to stay in your home and a tree falls on your house or the storm surge catches you and you're now calling for help, there's no one that can respond to help you", Morgan said at a news conference. "That's the criticality of following directions".

With just a month to go before Election Day, Florida voters in evacuation zones were also given one more day to register to vote, once offices reopen after the storm. After Hurricane Irma a year ago, 14 people died when a South Florida nursing home lost power and air conditioning.

"If you're responsible for a patient, you're responsible for the patient. Don't take a chance", he said.

"We're going through county by county to make sure we have all the shelters we need". "So my expectation is everybody gets taken care of".

Although the forecast could change, there is no indication that the storm will deteriorate before making landfall. "It will be life-threatening and extremely unsafe". Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said she feared widespread power outages and other problems would follow. Because he owns two businesses in the area, Givens, who lives inland, said he was not evacuating. "There's nothing between us and this storm but warm water' and I think that's what terrifies us about the potential impacts".

About 3.7 million people are under hurricane warnings - in the Panhandle and Big Bend regions as well as parts of southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia.

A high risk of rip currents at Atlantic Coast beaches.

The National Hurricane Center predicted Tuesday that tropical-storm-force winds would probably arrive on the southern coast early Wednesday morning.

As we wrote earlier today, as much as $13.4 billion of property reconstruction values stand in hurricane Michael's path.

Michael is expected to sweep up the East Coast, and tropical storm-force winds were projected to reach the state Thursday, according to the center's projections. By 8 a.m. Tuesday, top winds had reached 100 miles per hour (155 kph), and it was forecast to strengthen more, with winds topping 111 miles per hour (179 kph), capable of causing devastating damage. The storm was centered about 30 miles off the western tip of Cuba, and about 520 miles south of Apalachicola.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for.

Hurricane Michael will influence South Florida's weather for the rest of the week, but the effects are not expected to be significant, forecasters say.

Emergency officials in both counties and statewide are closely watching the hurricane.

Florida State University said its campuses in Tallahassee and Panama City will be closed from Tuesday to Friday.

These storm surges can cause more damage from flooding than the winds.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced an extension Tuesday morning that will allow county supervisors to accept paper voter-registration applications when they reopen from the storm. That's five times higher than runner-up Louisiana, which has experienced seven October hurricane hits, including three major hurricanes, according to National Hurricane Center records.

In a Facebook post Monday, the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office said no shelters would be open because Wakulla County shelters were rated safe only for hurricanes with top sustained winds below 111 miles per hour (178 kph). Residents are being urged to evacuate inland.

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