NASA video shows looming Hurricane Michael from space

NASA video shows looming Hurricane Michael from space

NASA video shows looming Hurricane Michael from space

With the storm next entering the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico, which has warm water and favorable atmospheric conditions, "There is a real possibility that Michael will strengthen to a major hurricane before landfall", Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the Miami-based storm forecasting hub, wrote in an advisory.

Currently, Michael is located 295 miles south of Panama City, Florida, and 270 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida.

The WGNO weather team will continue to monitor the latest information on Hurricane Michael and will continue to bring you the latest updates on-air, online, and on social media. As Michael nears landfall, we're sharing all you need to know about the impending storm. The governor has also warned that there is a "significant" chance of tornadoes.

"Life-threatening storm surge is likely along portions of the coasts of the Florida Panhandle, Big Bend, and Nature Coast, and a storm surge warning is in effect for these areas".

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.

Michael became a major hurricane on Tuesday afternoon as it zipped northward across the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Drivers waited in long lines at gas stations and residents hurried to fill sandbags, while tolls were suspended on some roads to aid movement ahead of the storm's landfall.

The storm has maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour. "Residents in these areas should follow all advice given by their local officials", the hurricane center said.

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Relatively minor flooding from a combination of king tides and 1 to 3 feet of storm surge from Michael, with Tuesday night's tide expected to be the highest.

In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide state of emergency, saying on Twitter that it was "in anticipation of wide-spread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds & heavy rain associated with #HurricaneMichael". The hurricane warning also covers southwestern Georgia, including Albany.

Tallahassee´s Democratic Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is campaigning to succeed Scott as governor in next month´s elections, suspended his campaign and returned to the state capital to oversee storm preparations.

After hitting Florida, the storm is forecast to move northeast on Wednesday and Thursday along the Atlantic Coast and batter the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence last month. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (56 kilometers) from the storm's center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (282 kilometers).

Michael was packing sustained winds of up to 140km/h late on Monday and gaining strength as it skirted past Cuba's western tip, where it is expected to dump as much as 30cm of rain, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountain areas.

Mandatory evacuation orders went into effect Tuesday morning for some 120,000 people in Panama City Beach and across other low-lying parts of the coast as Hurricane Michael approaches. As Michael moves inland, southern Georgia and southeast Alabama can expect damaging winds, too.

Tens of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate in Wakulla, Gulf and Bay counties.

Even neighbors in Alabama were bracing.

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