Hurricane Michael to hit Florida as "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm

Hurricane Michael to hit Florida as

The storm could drive sea water levels as high as 14 feet (4.3 meters) above normal in some areas, the National Hurricane Center said.

As risky Hurricane Michael moves into the Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday afternoon, it is expected to accelerate across southwest and middle Georgia through the remainder of the afternoon and evening hours.

As it approaches the Florida panhandle, Hurricane Michael has intensified into a Category 4 hurricane.

Michael's eye was about 140 miles from Panama City and 130 miles from Apalachicola, but moving relatively fast at 13 mph. In the coming hours, it could strengthen more, forecasters warned.

"There is going to be a killer - a killer storm surge in this event", Rubio told CNN on Capitol Hill.

At midday, the hurricane was closing in on the Florida panhandle with potentially catastrophic winds of 233 kilometres per hour, making it the most powerful storm on record to menace the stretch of fishing towns, military bases and spring-break beaches. This is your LAST CHANCE to get prepared for this monstrous and deadly storm. Scott, however, said at this point, it is too late to evacuate the panhandle. Then the remains of the storm will rapidly travel across the ocean toward Ireland. Winds along the Florida coast were already rising above tropical storm strength at the time, all but closing the window for further evacuations as the storm nears shore and moves inland later today.

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Michael, now a Category 4 major hurricane, is knocking on the threshold of Category 5 as it picks up speed.

"Long said FEMA is working hand in hand" with Governor Scott. Tornadoes could spawn in the Southeast Wednesday into Thursday, forecasters said. This is a serious situation for the Florida Panhandle and downstream areas in southeastern Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

According to the Associated Press, six people were killed in Honduras, four in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador. The only two other storms with more intense central air pressures were the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 and Hurricane Camille in 1969.

President Donald Trump said federal emergency officials are standing by to help with recovery efforts.

About 30 million people are under a hurricane watch or warning, or tropical storm watch or warning, across six states (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina). "Take this seriously keep your family safe".

The storm also will bring destructive winds and flooding rain throughout Wednesday and conditions were rapidly deteriorating Wednesday morning as the storm's outer bands began lashing the Panhandle.