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Michael Strengthens Into Category 2 Hurricane

Michael Strengthens Into Category 2 Hurricaneā€¯

Producing heavy rainfall and strong winds, Michael is moving north-northwestward at 12 miles per hour.

The hurricane center, citing Michael's risky trifecta of storm surge, flash flooding and winds, described the seventh hurricane of the Atlantic season as "life-threatening".

Since 1851, Florida has had 36 hurricanes make October landfalls, including 10 major hurricanes. "But water levels in some parts of the Northeast Florida coast will still be high enough to overwhelm the dunes, which are relatively low and narrow".

Hurricane warnings have been posted from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River, just northwest of Cedar Key on Florida's west coast.

The combination of a unsafe storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

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In an 8 a.m. update Tuesday, National Hurricane Center forecasters said Michael had strengthened to a Cat 2 storm with sustained winds of 100 miles per hour after appearing to take a brief pause in strengthening overnight, likely due to dry air and upper level wind shear. Tallahassee is located about 30 miles from the coast, and within the projected forecast "cone", according to the National Hurricane Center. The county offers storm preparation resources on its website.

Speaking alongside emergency officials in Pasco County, Scott said Monday he's waiving tolls. Hurricane-force winds extend out up to 35 miles (55 kilometers) and tropical-storm-force winds outward about 175 miles (280 kilometers). Forecasters said tornadoes could spin off the storm and 7.5cm to 15cm of rain could cause flash floods as it barrels over a corner of the country still recovering from Hurricane Florence. Residents are being urged to evacuate inland. A shift eastward would not. "Take care of them", he said. "Just have your emergency plan in place and your supplies in place, just in case the storm shifts a little east and puts us at risk of a little greater impact".

The Orlando area will get plenty of rain and windy conditions, however.

The Weather Service cautioned Floridians not to focus on the exact track of the storm.

Peaton says he's working closely with the National Weather Service to provide accurate information and protective measures to his county, which faces the Gulf of Mexico and is especially vulnerable to any flooding produced by Michael. Most of that rainfall should hit Wednesday night and Thursday, and flooding could occur in the already saturated region, said meteorologist Andrew Kimball. He added, "Today it is about life and safety". 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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As Hurricane Michael approaches the Gulf Coast, it is now being deemed a category 2 storm.

Hurricane Michael has been upgraded to a Category 3 major hurricane as of the National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. Tuesday advisory.

The storm is strengthening as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico, and the hurricane is predicted to be a major storm when it hits the Florida panhandle on Wednesday. Volusia and Flagler counties were not included in that declaration.

In Carrabelle, Florida, resident Cole Lauzau said she is planning to try riding out the storm at home with her roommate and their dog.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the storm could unleash coastal storm surges of up to 3.7 meters along the Florida Panhandle and dump up to 30 cm of rain across Florida, Georgia and SC.

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