Hurricane Michael set to be strongest storm to ever hit Florida Panhandle

  • Hurricane Michael set to be strongest storm to ever hit Florida Panhandle

Hurricane Michael set to be strongest storm to ever hit Florida Panhandle

Michael is moving north through the Gulf of Mexico and will likely become a major hurricane before making landfall Wednesday on the Florida Panhandle.

A state of emergency was declared in Alabama.

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

After hitting Florida, the storm is forecast to move north-east on Wednesday and Thursday along the Atlantic Coast and batter the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence last month.

"We expect Hurricane Michael to make landfall near Panama City, Florida, Wednesday midday or early afternoon", according to AccuWeather forecaster Dan Kottlowski.

The Florida governor called Michael "a monstrous storm" and urged residents to listen to officials.

Forecasters on Wednesday warned people in the southern US state of Florida to be ready for the full impact of "extremely dangerous" Hurricane Michael.

"We've told those who stayed to have their life jackets on when the storm comes", Tress Dameron, Franklin County emergency management coordinator, told The News Herald in Panama City.

More than 300 miles of coastline was under threat, the National Weather Service has said.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said Michael was expected to be "the most deadly, destructive storm to the Panhandle in decades".

A satellite image of Hurricane Michael has taken the terrifying shape of a skull as it roars closer to Florida as a fierce Category 4 storm.

Anxious meteorologists said it had the potential of becoming one of the worst storms in the history of Florida's Panhandle.

Blake also said he hoped that everyone had left the coast along the Florida Panhandle, as this was a "near-worst case" scenario for the region. Scott expanded the order on Monday to encompass 35 counties.

"No one's going to survive" such a wall of water, he said. About 2,500 National Guard troops were deployed to assist with evacuations and storm preparations, and more than 4,000 others were on standby.

In St. Marks, John Hargan and his family gathered up their pets and evacuated to a raised building constructed to withstand a Category 5 after water from the St. Marks River began surrounding their home.

The storm, which formed off the coast of northern Honduras, has already killed at least 13 people in Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador after torrential rains triggered flash-flooding and landslides in Central America over the weekend. Tens of thousands of people were told to evacuate coastal areas as the storm moved over the Gulf of Mexico, bringing winds of 120mph and disrupting oil production.