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Michael strengthens into Category 2 hurricane

11 October 2018

The storm - now located over the Gulf of Mexico - is sweeping toward the Florida coast at around 12 miles per hour and is expected to make landfall on Wednesday, bringing with it "life threatening" storm surges and heavy rainfall, the National Hurricane Center said.

Hurricane Michael quickly intensified into a Category 2 over warm Gulf of Mexico waters on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ Time) amid fears it would strike Florida on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) as an even stronger hurricane.

Michael roared down on the Florida Panhandle strengthening into a Category 4 hurricane early Wednesday before it crashes against the region's white-sand beaches, fishing villages and coastal communities later in the day. NHC said those areas will likely experience a "life-threatening" storm surge, where 9 to 13 feet of inundation is possible in the worst areas between Tyndall Air Force Base and Keaton Beach.

The storm's rapid intensification over the past two days, despite shifting winds, "defies traditional logic", according to hurricane forecasters.

Any rain from Michael itself would be extra on top of that and so I'll be tracking both systems closely over the next few days. The storm's maximum sustained winds have decreased to 50 miles per hour (80 kph) and it was moving to the northeast at 21 miles per hour (33 kph).

"Today is the day". Search and rescue crews were expected to escalate efforts to reach hardest-hit areas and check for anyone trapped or injured in the storm debris.

Hurricane Michael became a Category 3 storm with 120 miles per hour maximum sustained winds on October 9.

Unlike with the powerful and deadly Hurricane Irma a year ago that ran up the state, Scott has left evacuation orders to county officials. Take action now to protect your life!A Tornado Watch remains in effect until 500 PM EDT/400 PM CDT/ for Big Bend of and the Panhandle of Florida. "On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico through tonight", the agency said.

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The Sears notes coming due on October 15 traded Tuesday morning at 87 cents on the dollar, according to MarketAxess. Sears continues to discuss other options and could still avert an in-court restructuring, the people added.

A hurricane warning was posted along more than 300 miles (483 km) of the coast from the Florida-Alabama border south to the Suwannee River. It is expected to weaken as it moves up into the southeastern United States.

The National Hurricane center says the Florida Panhandle should prepare for life-threatening storm surge, destructive winds and heavy rainfall. President Donald Trump has endorsed DeSantis. "It looks like another big one".

More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were urged to evacuate as Michael closed in.

Scott (above) has already activated 2,500 Florida National Guard troops with another 2,500 on standby.

"If you decide to stay in your home and a tree falls on your house or the storm surge catches you and you're now calling for help, there's no one that can respond to help you", Morgan said at a news conference.

Storm surges of between nine and thirteen feet are now projected for the gulf coast between Mexico Beach, Florida (just south of Panama City on the Panhandle) and Keaton Beach on Florida's Big Bend. Authorities were also searching for a boy swept away by a river in Guatemala.

"Don't think that you can ride this out if you're in a low-lying area", Nelson said on CNN. "The latest minimum central pressure reported by the NOAA aircraft is 968 millibars".

Tolls have been lifted in Northwest Florida to ease evacuation, and Scott said fuel distribution is being watched, though there haven't been "widespread fuel shortages or outages".

Michael strengthens into Category 2 hurricane