Richland, Lexington counties under tropical storm watch as Michael approaches

Tracking Michael What You Need to Know

Although the forecast could change, there is no indication that the storm will deteriorate before making landfall.

The storm was about 220 kilometres east-northwest of Cozumel, Mexico, with maximum sustained winds of winds of 120 kilometres per hour, forecasters said. The designation means tropical storm force winds (39 to 73 mph) are expected in the area within 48 hours.

WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said Tuesday that the storm could cause power outages as its bands of rain and strong winds move into the Triangle. It is moving north at 12 miles per hour.

Hurricane Michael has strengthened to a category two storm, with winds reaching in excess of 100mph (155km/h) as it barrels towards the Florida coast.

A hurricane warning has been issued for the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River, and a hurricane watch is in effect from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

As of Tuesday evening, Michael had 120mph winds, and it still had another 18 hours or so over open water to intensify before interactions with the U.S. landmass would force some weakening.

Several cities in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina are in the path of this storm, beyond its landfall on the coast.

Residents of the USA state of Florida are boarding up homes and seeking evacuation routes away from Hurricane Michael, forecast to slam ashore midweek with life-threatening waves, winds and rains.

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Michael is forecast to produce life-threatening flash flooding from the Panhandle and Big Bend through portions of the Carolinas through Thursday, with 10 inches of rain forecast across parts of the Panhandle.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott called Michael a "monstrous hurricane" with a devastating potential from high winds, storm surge and heavy rains.

"Hurricane Michael is a monstrous storm and the forecast just keeps getting more risky, we are now just hours from seeing impacts", Florida Governor Rick Scott said on Tuesday afternoon.

Hurricanes are violent storms that can bring devastation to coastal areas, threatening lives, homes and businesses. "There's nothing between us and this storm but warm water' and I think that's what terrifies us about the potential impacts".

"Everybody's got to get ready".

"You can not hide from storm surge, so. get out if an evacuation is ordered", he said. The governor has declared a state of emergency in 35 counties, and is stressing that residents should "absolutely" evacuate if ordered to.

A map shows at-risk areas in Florida ahead of Hurricane Michael.

Some areas along the state's Big Bend area could see risky storm surge between six and 12 feet as Michael nears, the Hurricane Center reported.

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Florida State University announced it was closing for the week on Tuesday, along with schools in Leon County, home to the state capital Tallahassee.

By declaring a state of emergency, Ivey is directing the activation of the Alabama Emergency Operations Plan, which directs the appropriate state agencies to exercise their statutory authority to assist the communities and entities affected by the storm.

The expected path for Hurricane Michael as of October 9, 2018.

Hurricanes develop from thunderstorms, fuelled by warm, moist air as they cross sub-tropical waters.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for.

"Remember, this storm could grow stronger and be a Category 3 hitting our state". Tropical storm warnings cover a further 3.1 million people in the three states. Residents also stocked up on food, water and gas.

Over the weekend, flooding related to Michael led to at least 13 deaths in the Central American countries of Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador, according to officials in those countries.

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