Florida was warned on Monday (Oct 8) to plan for "life-threatening" flash flooding as Michael heads for the US Gulf Coast, where it is expected to make landfall midweek as a major Category 3 hurricane. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for residents of barrier islands, mobile homes and low-lying coastal areas in Gulf, Wakulla and Bay counties.
Florida State University in Tallahassee announced it was shutting down its campus after midnight on Monday, and will remain closed for the rest of the week.
At 11 a.m. Michael was about 50 miles south of the western tip of Cuba with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.
It is expected to be a violent Category 3 hurricane - with the power to uproot trees, block roads and knock out power for days - by the time it hits Florida on Wednesday, before moving across the southeastern United States through Thursday.
"South Carolina could experience periods of heavy rain, gusty winds, tornadoes and storm surge due to Hurricane Michael, with the greatest impacts beginning this Wednesday", the S.C. Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) advised in a tweet. Storm surge could reach a monstrous 12 feet in some areas - enough to "easily go over the roofs of some houses", he said. A Category 1 hurricane has sustained winds of 74 to 95 miles per hour.
Late Monday, residents of far western Cuba were forecast to get up to eight inches of rain.
More than 45 per cent of the nation's refining capacity is located along the US Gulf Coast, which also is home to 51 per cent of total US natural gas processing capability.
He has also activated hundreds of Florida National Guard members and waived tolls to encourage those near the coast to evacuate inland.
Evoluciona depresión tropical N.14 a Tormenta Tropical Michael
Este sistema se mueve lento con dirección noroeste y registra ahora vientos máximos sostenidos de 35 km/h con rachas de hasta los 45 km/h.
FEMA administrator Brock Long said the agency was prepared for the storm in all the states likely to feel Michael's impact.
Escambia through Franklin counties in Northwest Florida are included in the hurricane watch.
Forecasters with the US National Hurricane Center in Miami say it is carrying winds of up to 130km/h and warn it will continue to move over warm waters, which may cause it to generate winds reaching 178km/h by Tuesday night.
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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has also designated 40 law-enforcement officers for rapid deployment. He added, "Today it is about life and safety".
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed an emergency declaration for her entire state, expecting widespread power outages and other problems from Michael.
"I haven't made up my mind yet, but I know some of my staff are going", said Dave Trepanier, owner of Firefly, a restaurant a block from the beach in Panama City, Bay County, an area where the hurricane is expected to come ashore. From Navarre, westward to the Baldwin County line, a Storm Surge Watch covers that area.
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Because it's not over yet - we still need to get this issue debated in parliament, and ultimately for the law to be changed. SUNSHINE Coast residents have the chance to learn mindfulness for free during Queensland Mental Health Week.