"You've got to take care of yourself", said Scott, sporting his faded Navy baseball cap that has become a hallmark of his past emergency attire, after a briefing at the Bay County Emergency Operations Center in Southport.
Scott also said Monday afternoon that state health officials are reaching out to hospitals and nursing homes to be prepared.
The forecast indicates Michael may be a Category 3 hurricane - with winds from 111 to 129 miles per hour - when it strikes. With Hurricane Michael, they are particularly concerned about storm surge in a region especially vulnerable to it, warning of a surge of 8 to 12 feet in some areas. "This is coming very fast". "It could speed up. We don't know. And we don't know exactly where it's going to hit yet".
Hurricane-force winds extend about 40 miles from the center, with tropical storm-force winds reaching 185 miles, Graham said.
Residents of Florida's Panhandle frantically filled sandbags, boarded up homes and secured boats Monday as they anxiously awaited Hurricane Michael, which forecasters warned could smash into the state's Gulf Coast as a risky major hurricane within days.
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The hurricane caused major flooding in the Florida Panhandle and significant damage, according to local news media reports.
Two years ago, Hurricane Hermine knocked out power for days in Tallahassee and caused widespread flooding as it came up through the Gulf Coast.
A hurricane watch has been declared in southwest Alabama, northwest Florida, south-central Alabama, and inland southeast Mississippi. It was moving north at 12 miles per hour.
While Florence took five days between the time it turned into a hurricane and the moment it rolled into the Carolinas, Michael gave Florida what amounted to two days' notice.
Hurricane Michael would be the first major hurricane to hit the panhandle since Hurricane Dennis in 2005, which made landfall near Pensacola, according to hurricane center data. Michael was lashing western Cuba on Monday with heavy rains and strong winds.
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By 5 p.m. Monday, Michael's top sustained winds were around 80 miles per hour (130 kph) as it headed north at 9 miles per hour (15 kph). The National Hurricane Center anticipates the northward motion to pick up through Tuesday night, with a northeast shift expected Wednesday and Thursday. That's the region that stretches from Mobile, Alabama, through the Florida Panhandle and into the Big Bend area of northern Florida. He Scott declared a state of emergency for 35 Florida counties from the Panhandle to Tampa Bay, activated hundreds of Florida National Guard members and waived tolls to encourage those near the coast to evacuate inland.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida's Democratic nominee for governor, filled sandbags with residents and urged residents of the state capital city to finish up emergency preparations quickly.
Energy companies halted almost a fifth of Gulf of Mexico oil production and evacuated staff from 10 platforms on Monday as Michael was forecast to become the strongest of three named storms to affect the U.S. Gulf of Mexico this year.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis tweeted that he was redirecting his "Panhandle campaign staff and volunteers to help prepare their communities ahead of the storm". It developed into a hurricane on Monday, and by Tuesday, more than 180,000 people were already under mandatory evacuation orders.
A hurricane warning was in effect for Pinar del Rio, a province in western Cuba, and a hurricane watch was posted from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida. Though still far off, the storm is forecast to slam Florida, bringing strong winds and rains. Forecasters said the storm could also spawn tornadoes over parts of Florida and Georgia. The commission, formed after the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, had been slated to meet Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Broward County. Florida State University announced it will close from Tuesday through Friday this week.
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