ORLANDO, Fla. - Hurricane Michael could become a dangerous Category 3 storm by the time of an expected midweek landfall on the Gulf Coast in the Florida Panhandle.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has issued an order for a state of emergency for 35 counties to rush preparations in the Florida Panhandle and the Big Bend area, freeing up resources and activating 500 members of the Florida National Guard.
"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely dangerous," Scott said.
Michael became a tropical storm on Sunday with sustained winds of up to 50 mph. But it rapidly intensified, and its top winds clocked in at 90 mph by Monday at 11 p.m., according to the National Hurricane Center.
Also with the 5 p.m. advisory, storm surge and hurricane warnings were issued for counties along the Gulf Coast of Florida.
As of Monday night, Michael was the western tip of Cuba with heavy rainfall and strong winds. According to the NHC, hurricane conditions are expected to continue in the area through the evening.
The storm is currently heading north at 12 mph.
The storm is expected to be near the Florida Panhandle coast around midweek.
We have activated the State Assistance Information Line to provide an additional resource for those in FL to receive accurate and up-to-date information regarding Tropical Storm Michael. The SAIL line is 1-800-342-3557. https://t.co/52423e8geL — Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) October 8, 2018
Scott ordered all state offices Monday afternoon to close Tuesday and remain closed through Thursday in the 35 counties where he declared a state of emergency.
At my direction, state offices will be closed tomorrow, October 9th- Thursday, October 11th in the 35 affected counties where I have declared a State of Emergency. — Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) October 8, 2018
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