Hurricane Michael Intensifies to a Category 2

By RJ Johnson - @rickerthewriter

October 9, 2018

The National Hurricane Center said Tuesday morning that Hurricane Michael has strengthened to a Category 2 storm as it continues to bear down on Florida's Gulf Coast and Panhandle. Forecasters are warning residents the hurricane is likely to continue to gain strength as it moves through the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and will bring heavy rain, life-threatening storm surges, destructive winds and floods to several areas along the Florida Panhandle and Gulf Coast. 

Conditions are expected to deteriorate late tonight into Wednesday morning. 

"Michael could develop into a potentially catastrophic event for the northeastern Gulf Coast," the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, Florida wrote. Michael is currently located about 395 miles south of Panama City,  Florida, moving north-northwest at 12 mph. 

Forecasters say coastal flooding and storm surges could raise water levels by as much as  eight to 12 feet in some areas of the southern state. As much as four to eight inches of rainfall, to even a foot in some isolated areas are being predicted by the NHC who added the storm could spawn tornados in parts of northwestern Florida. 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned that the storm could bring "total devastation" to parts of Florida and urged residents to get prepared. 

"It is a monstrous storm and the forecast [keeps] getting more dangerous," Scott said. "The time to prepare is now."

Photo: Getty Images

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