As Hurricane Michael approaches the Gulf Coast, it is now being deemed a category 2 storm.
The National Hurricane Center predicted Tuesday that tropical-storm-force winds would probably arrive on the southern coast early Wednesday morning.
The NHC said in a tweet that a "life-threatening" storm surge and flash flooding was likely in areas of the Florida Panhandle and described the storm as "dangerous".
A hurricane hunter plane investigating the storm Tuesday morning found that Michael's eye had become less organized.
Key among these is the pace that hurricane Michael is moving at, meaning it will not drop the massive amounts of rainfall that the Carolina's experienced with Florence.
Hurricanes are violent storms that can bring devastation to coastal areas, threatening lives, homes and businesses.
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Officials in Bay County say they have not seen a rush of evacuees clogging roads inland - and that worries them with just hours left before Michael's landfall in the Panhandle. Tropical storm watches are in effect in some coastal areas of Mississippi, Florida, Georgia and SC. "Residents and businesses in coastal Alabama must be vigilant and closely monitor the storm's path and be prepared for a major hurricane".
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor, said his city's utility has called in "six times" its normal staffing through mutual-aid agreements with other utilities.
Interests along the northeastern and central Gulf Coast areas are advised to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Michael.
The storm, which hasn't officially been upgraded to a hurricane just yet, is now located approximately 90 miles east of Cozumel, Mexico.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott expanded a state of emergency declaration Tuesday to include 35 counties in preparation for the storm.
Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday that Michael isn't expected to hit his state as hard as Florence did last month, but people shouldn't let their guard down, even if they're suffering from cleanup fatigue.
"It's been dry for the last couple of weeks, so there's plenty of places for that to run off to", he said. Additional strengthening is forecast in the coming hours before landfall.
"Think about destruction we've seen before with storms like Hurricane Irma".
Meanwhile, Surfline is offering several live streams of beaches in Florida that may be impacted, including Twin Piers in Manatee County, Anna Maria Island beach, Panama City Beach, and the Venice Beach jetties.
From the Okaloosa/Walton County Line, Florida, to Indian Pass, 6 to 9 feet of storm surge could hit.
According to an alert published by the Cuban Civil Defense, meteorologists warned affected residents that they could experience hurricane-force winds.
Mr Scott warned the residents of his state not to be complacent.
Hurricane Michael is gaining strength as it lashes Cuba's western tip and lumbers northward toward the U.S.
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Mandatory evacuations are in effect along much of Florida's northern Gulf Coast, stretching from the Panhandle into the area known as the Big Bend. He also has declared a state of emergency for 35 counties and asked President Donald Trump for assistance ahead of the storm. Larger surf is expected Tuesday, Malphurs said, and access ramps are expected to be closed to driving all morning and into the early afternoon.
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