A hurricane center graphic showed the disturbance gaining storm-level winds of over 39 miles per hour on Monday and maintaining those speeds as it potentially hits the Florida coast east of Pensacola on Wednesday.
"This storm has potential to impact families across the Panhandle and Big Bend and every family must be prepared".
"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely risky", Scott said during a press conference.
Scott encouraged residents in the path of the storm to prepare now, and directed everyone to visit FloridaDisaster.org to find information on emergency preparedness, shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes. When it first reached tropical storm status, it was expected to become no stronger than a category 1 hurricane.
The storm is forecast by the National Hurricane Center to move mostly north, crossing through the Gulf Of Mexico before a landfall along the Florida panhandle on Wednesday afternoon.
A tropical storm watch is now in effect along the southeastern coast of the United States from Fernandina Beach, Florida to South Santee River, South Carolina.
"Remember, it takes 74 miles per hour winds to be categorized as a hurricane", News 6 meteorologist Troy Bridges said.
Outer bands from Michael are expected produce as much as 4 inches (10 cm) of rain through Tuesday in the Florida Keys, one of several areas in the state devastated by Hurricane Irma previous year.
Hurricane Michael strengthened into a Category 4 storm early Wednesday as it made a final approach to the northwestern Florida coastline before it arrives on land. Reconnaissance aircraft indicate that tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 170 miles (275 kilometers) to the northeast and southeast of the center. We also have an area of high pressure just off the east coast of Florida.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is the Democratic nominee for governor, had planned to campaign in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday, but he said he would return to Tallahassee to help with storm preparations.
"Nearly all of the intensity models bring the cyclone to hurricane strength over the Gulf of Mexico in 2 to 3 days", the 10 a.m. Sundayforecast discussion by the National Hurricane Center said.
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