Gov. Rick Scott warns of 'monstrous storm' with massive flooding

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"#HurricaneMichael isn't heading to any one town..." The most probable landfall location is near Panama City, but even less than 24 hours before landfall, the average position error is 30 to 40 miles.

The storm is expected to reach category three strength before it makes landfall on Wednesday.

"I am concerned about the cone of uncertainty as Hurricane Michael is leaning west today", Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Hastings said in a statement Monday.

On Monday and Tuesday, the storm has taken advantage of low wind shear-allowing it to maintain a tight circulation and organized vertical structure-as well as warm, late-summer waters in the Gulf of Mexico to intensify.

The storm is expected to undergo rapid intensification again Tuesday.

By 11 a.m., Michael had winds of 110 miles per hour (175 kph), just below a major Category 3 hurricane, and was getting stronger, drawing energy from Gulf waters in the mid-80s.

As of 5 a.m. ET, Michael's center was about 420 miles south of Panama City, Florida and 390 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida.

Tropical Storms warnings were also issued for the USA east coast, from Fernandina Beach, just north of Jacksonville, to SC.

Residents of the U.S. state of Florida are boarding up homes and seeking evacuation routes away from Hurricane Michael, forecast to slam ashore midweek with life-threatening waves, winds and rains.

A hurricane warning is in place from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida. Storm surge recedes by Thursday afternoon.

A Tropical Storm Watch and Storm Surge Watch have been issued for coastal Manatee, Pinellas, and Hillsborough Counties.

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The National Hurricane Center said the storm was moving north-northwestward through the southern Gulf of Mexico, and that storm surge and hurricane warnings were in effect for the northeastern Gulf coast.

Tropical storm warnings were issued for the coasts of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

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.

"It's a big storm", Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Monday night during a press conference at the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center near Pensacola.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely unsafe", Scott said at a news conference Sunday.

"For those considering evacuation, I can't stress strongly enough the importance of leaving as early as possible", Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said on Facebook.

"Everybody's got to get ready". "You need to evacuate if you're ordered to do so". Forecasters also warned spinoff tornadoes would also be a threat.

Now, in his final months of an eight-year tenure as Florida governor, Scott is in the familiar role of warning constituents about the dangers of a Cat-3 hurricane. He said tolls were being suspended in the state's northwest region to ease the evacuation process, and the Florida Highway Patrol is sending almost 350 state troopers to the Panhandle and Big Bend areas.

Florida State University announced it was closing for the week on Tuesday, along with schools in Leon County, home to the state capital Tallahassee.

Ivey signed the emergency declaration Monday in anticipation of wide-spread power outages, wind damage and heavy rain associated with the storm.

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