Hurricane Michael is forecast to strengthen rapidly as it makes its approach towards the Florida Panhandle.
Michael is a Category 2 hurricane but is set to become a Category 3 hurricane with winds from 111mph to 129 mph when it strikes the coast of Florida on Wednesday.
Forecasters predict the hurricane will bring four to 12 inches (10 to 30cm) of rain in some areas, with life-threatening flash flooding possible.
Thousands of people are being evacuated as the storm strengthens further.
The National Hurricane Center said: “Life-threatening storm surge is possible along portions of the Florida Gulf Coast regardless of the storm’s exact track or intensity.
“Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads.
“Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.”
Here are the latest updates on Hurricane Michael (all times in BST, which is six hours behind CDT).
Wednesday October 10
03.05am update: Michael expected to be first major hurricane to strike Florida Panhandle since 2005
Michael is expected to be the first major hurricane (Category 3 or above) to strike the Florida Panhandle since Hurricane Dennis in 2005.
Only three major hurricanes have made landfall in the region since 1950: Eloise in 1975, Opal in 1995, and Dennis in 2005.
2.10am update: Michael to approach Category 4 when it makes landfall
Hurricane Michael is expected to be near Category 4 when it makes landfall in the Florida Panhandle or the Florida Big Bend Area, according to the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC).
The forecaster noted the storm is only forecast to weaken after it makes landfall and moves across the south-eastern US
1.10am update: Environmental agencies warn of life-threatening storm surges
US environmental agencies have warned of life-threatening winds, rain and storm surges once Hurricane Michael makes landfall on the US Gulf Coast.
The National Hurricane Centre Storm Surge Centre said: “A destructive and life-threatening storm surge event will occur along portions of the Florida Panhandle, Big Bend, and Nature Coast on Wednesday and Wednesday night.
“The worst storm surge is expected to be between Mexico Beach and Keaton Beach where nine to 13 inches of inundation is possible.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) added: “Flooding from Hurricane Michael will affect several states.
“Finishing preparations as soon as possible and get ready to shelter in a safe location.
“Make sure you’re getting weather alerts for your area and stay off the roads once rain and winds start.”
12.05am update: Michael has maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour
Hurricane Michael currently has maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour, and is located around 270 miles south-south-west of Apalachicola, Florida.
If the storm maintains its current intensity until it makes landfall, it will be the strongest hurricane to strike mainland US this year.
Hurricane Michael path LIVE:
Tuesday October 9
10.45pm update: Evacuations ordered in 22 Florida counties
Evacuations in Florida have been stepped up, with at least 22 counties under evacuation order.
The following counties are under mandatory evacuation:
The following counties are under voluntary or phased evacuations:
- Santa Rosa
10pm update: Michael confirms fears as beast becomes MAJOR hurricane
NOAA has released its 4pm Central Time (10pm BST) public advisory, and scientists worst fears have been confirmed: Hurricane Michael has strengthened to a Category 3 major hurricane.
The monster storm has leapt in strength, now packing winds of 120 mph.
Hurricane Michael is churning maliciously just 250 miles south of Panama City, Florida, and is moving north at 12 mph.
On the forecast track, NOAA expects Michael to make landfall in Florida on Wednesday, and has broadened its warning zones.
Hurricane Michael NOAA 4pm update
9.30pm update: Michael could be strongest storm in Florida for 13 years
A senior Weather Channel Meteorologist tweeted that “Michael may be the first Category 3+ storm in 13 years.”
Jonathan Erdman said there have only been four of these major hurricanes to hit the state since 1950, the most recent being Hurricane Dennis in 2005.
9pm update: Department of Homeland Security makes a statement
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, speaking at the Army’s annual AUSA Meeting on Tuesday, said the DHS was “actively preparing for Hurricane Michael.”
She said the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense were working together with state and local officials.
“These types of disasters demand a response beyond what any one agency can handle,” she said.
8.30pm update: Flooding begins in Florida
Parts of southern Florida have begun reporting flooding as Michael begins to make its presence felt.
Officials in Sarasota city posted on Twitter that ” the combination of high tide and some possible storm surge” was leading to flooding in the city’s bayfront recreation parks.
The flooding appears to be minor at this stage.
Hurricane Michael: The storm is expected to make landfall on Wednesday
Kate Whitfield taking over live reporting from Amani Hughes
8.05pm update: Eye of Hurricane Michael
This incredible footage shows the eye of Hurricane Michael as it continues to strengthen.
The satellite imagery shows a tight, well-defined eye wall beginning to form as it tracks over the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
7.31pm update: How powerful is Hurricane Michael?
The storm has developed into a Category 2 storm, but it is forecast to intensify further before making landfall on Wednesday, possibly as a Category 3.
The threshold for a Category 3 is maximum sustained winds of 111mph – Michael is packing maximum sustained winds of 110mph, according to the 1pm CDT update.
Michael is forecast to be a major hurricane when it makes landfall in Florida and weakening is expected after landfall.
According to the National Hurricane Center, hurricane hunters say Michael is still strengthening as it moves north northwest over the Gulf of Mexico.
This is because the warm water in the gulf will continue to fuel the storm’s strength.
6.59pm update: Deadly impact on Cuba
In western Cuba, Michael triggered flash floods and mudslides in mountain areas.
Disaster agencies in El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua reported 13 deaths.
Roofs collapsed and residents were carried away by swollen rivers – six died in Honduras, four in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador.
Heavy rains lashed the region at the weekend after Michael formed off the coast of Honduras.
6.24pm update: Democrats call on voter extension as thousands flee Hurricane Michael
Florida’s Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit calling on election officials to extend the state’s voter registration deadline by a week, as tens of thousands of people were ordered to flee approaching Hurricane Michael.
The lawsuit said: “Voters will face significant hurdles to registration because of the disruption caused by Hurricane Michael.”
Florida’s secretary of state, Ken Detzner, issued a memorandum authorizing any local elections offices forced to close on Tuesday to accept paper registrations on Wednesday.
The deadline for online registrations remained midnight on Tuesday, Detzner said.
The Democrats’ lawsuit is seeking an extension for both online and paper registration, arguing that the storm could cause internet outages and prevent residents from registering online.
Detzner’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
U.S. authorities have ordered evacuations in parts of 20 coastal counties areas ahead of the storm’s expected landfall on Wednesday.
Hurricane Michael has already hit Cuba and had a deadly impact resulting in 13 deaths
5.53pm update: State of emergency declared in 92 Georgia counties
A state of emergency has been declared for 92 Georgia counties ahead of Hurricane Michael.
Gov Nathan Deal said in a statement: “The state if mobilising all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Michael.
“In light of the storm’s forecasted track, I encourage Georgians in the affected counties to be prepared and remain vigilant.
Mandatory evacuations are underway for many communities along the Florida coast.
Meteorologist Karen Minton said warm water in the gulf will continue to fuel the storm’s strength.
5.33pm update: Donald Trump tells resident to “be SAFE”
President Donald Trump said the country was very well prepared for the hurricane, adding it was much bigger than had been expected.
Mr Trump vote on Twitter: “FLORIDA – It is imperative that you heed the directions of your State and Local Officials. Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE!”
He added “the folks in the Panhandle can take care of everything.”
Hurricane Michael LIVE path: Donald Trump told residents to stay safe when Michael hits
5.02pm update: Residents ordered to LEAVE immediately
US authorities have ordered tens of thousands of people to heed warnings of life-threatening coastal floods.
Residents and tourists have been told to evacuate coastal areas in at least 20 counties in Florida.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said: “Hurricanet Michael is a monster storm and it keeps getting more dangerous.”
“The time to prepare is now.”
Gov Scott declared a state of emergency in 35 counties along the Panhandle and Florida’s Big Bend regions, mostly rural areas known for small tourist cities, beaches and wildlife reserves, as well as the state capital, Tallahassee.
A hurricane warning was in effect for a more than 300-mile (480-km) stretch of coastline from the Florida-Alabama border to the Suwannee River in Florida.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered on Monday along Floriday’s Panhandle, including areas of Panama City as Michael neared.
Hurricane Michael PATH live: Hurricane Michael will make landfall on Wednesday as a Cat 3
4.32pm update: NHC latest advisory
The National Hurricane Center has issued the latest watches and warning in the 10am CDT (4pm BST.
The Hurricane Watch for the coast of Alabama has been discontinued.
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for
-Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida to Anclote River Florida
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for
-Anclote River Florida to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay
-Alabama/Florida border to Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for
-Alabama/Florida border to Suwannee River Florida
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for
-Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border
-Suwanee River Florida to Chassahowitzka Florida
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for
-Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay
-Mississippi/Alabama border to the Mouth of the Pearl River
-Fernandina Beach Florida to South Santee River South Carolina
Hurricane Michael path LIVE: Florida Governor Rick Scott issues stark warnings on the hurricane
3.43pm update: 12 hours away from seeing impact
Michael could grow to a Category 3 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale before it makes landfall on Wednesday over the Florida Panhandle or the state’s Big Bend area, where the state capital of Tallahassee is located, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast. If so, it would rank as the most powerful storm to strike the Panhandle in at least a decade.
“Hurricane Michael is a monster storm and it keeps getting more dangerous. We’re 12 hours away from seeing impacts,” Florida Governor Rick Scott told a news conference on Tuesday. “The time to prepare is now.”
He warned of potential deadly impacts from a storm surge that could be as much as 12 feet (3.7 meters) over normal sea water levels, and winds that could rise to 110 mph (177 kph).
3.10pm update: Florida state troopers deploy ahead of the storm
Florida Governor Rick Scott said some 100 Florida Highway Patrol troopers would be deployed across the state’s Big Bend and Panhandle area ahead of Hurricane Michael.
At least 35 of them will be from the Orlando area.
3.04pm update: Airbnb homes open doors for evacuees
More than 100 Airbnb hosts in Florida, Georgia and Alabama have opened their homes ahead of Hurricane Michael, the company says.
The homes will be free from October to October 29 for relief workers and evacuees in the wake of the storm.
To search for open homes in the affected area, simply create an account and click “Find shelter.”
Airbnb said: “Since 2012, Airbnb hosts have helped thousands of people find safe, welcoming places to stay while they rebuild their lives after natural disasters, wars, conflict, and other events.
“Our hosts asked us to create a way for them to be seen as a resource by those in need, and we have.
“One way we facilitate the wishes of the community is by activating our response tool.”
2.53pm update: Damage to be WORSE than hurricane Florence
Damage to the power infrastructure will be more significant than that seen during Hurricane Florence, the FEMA warned.
Jeff Byard, FEMA Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery, said damage will be particularly in Florida and Georgia.
“Damage to the power infrastructure will be more significant than Florence because of downed power poles,” Byard said.
There will also be more localised impact with storm surge from Hurricane Michael that the impacts seen during Hurricane Florence.
“Hurricane forces winds will go into part of Georgia,” Byard said.
2.32pm update: Latest NOAA wind speed arrival time maps
The latest NOAA maps suggest Hurricane Michael will most likely make landfall at around 2am on Wednesday.
By 8am, the storm will have made a direct hit in-land.
The earliest expected time of landfall is Tuesday, 8pm.
Hurricane Michael: tHIS NOAA image shows Michael’s path from space
1.40pm update: Hurricane Michael space images
Amazing satellite imagery from the NOAA says exactly what Hurricane Michael looks like from space as the swirling vortex moved into the Gulf of Mexico overnight.
The storm is expected to make landfall in Florida as a major, category 3 hurricane.
You see the latest images above.
1.30pm update: Panic buying epidemic begins
As Hurricane Michael is upgraded to category two, shoppers have begun to panic buy – wiping out whole shop shelves in the panic to prepare for a direct hit.
Shoppers have been stockpiling basics like bread ahead of the expected impact, due on Wednesday, according to local news reporter Matthew Seedorff of WOAI.
The Florida-based journalist posted an image from Panama City, which lies directly in the storm’s path, on Twitter – which showed empty shelves.
He tweeted: “The bread aisle is running low at this Publix in Panama City Beach.”
Hurricane Michael: Florida supermarkets are already facing empty shelves
1.18pm update: Changes to storm warnings
The NHC said: “The Tropical Storm Warning for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio has been discontinued.”
1.07pm update: Airlines warning of potential cancellations and delays due to the hurricane
Delta Air Lines said journeys that start, end or go through several locations in Florida and Alabama could be affected
Fort Walton Beach
Hurricane Michael: The latest NWS hurricane warning map
1.03pm update: Hurricane Michael upgraded to category two hurricane
Michael is now 365 miles from Apalachicola, Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 100mph.
The NHC said: “Additional strengthening is expected, and Michael is forecast to be a major hurricane at landfall in Florida.
“Weakening is expected after landfall as Michael moves through the southeastern United States.”
12.56pm update: ‘No one will survive’
Florida Governor Rick Scott told ABC’s “Good Morning America” program the effects of the storm would not be felt for another 12 hours.
But he issued a grave warning of the potential deadly impact of what could be a 12-foot (3.7-meter) coastal storm surge.
Asked if there would be more evacuation orders, he said officials were monitoring the situation but that people in potentially affected areas should not take any chances against such a large storm surge.
“No one’s going to survive,” such a wall of water, Scott said. “Don’t take a chance.”
12.21pm update: Citizens advised to evacuate during the day
Flood water can sometimes be difficult to see during the day – and even more difficult when its dark.
Residents are advised to evacuate in daylight hours.
The NWS wrote: “Much of the central US is contending with very heavy rainfall that will last through the night, resulting in flash flooding in some areas.
“Seeing flooded roadways in the dark can be very difficult.”
12.15pm update: How to prepare for a hurricane- latest hurricane advice
- During a hurricane
Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
Be extra careful when walking outside.
Storm damage such as downed power lines and fallen debris could injure you.
- 6 hours before arrival
Close storm shutters if possible and stay away from windows.
Flying glass from broken windows could injure you.
Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary.
If you lose power, food will last longer.
- 6 to 12 hours before arrival
Turn on your TV/radio, or check your local government’s website frequently.
You’ll get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
Charge your phone.
You’ll have a full battery if you lose power.
- 12 to 36 hours before arrival
Bring in outdoor furniture and other items that could blow away.
These may become a safety hazard.
Bookmark your local government’s website.
This gives you quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions.
Hurricane Michael: The NWS and NOAA issued how to prepare warnings
12.05pm update: The NWS warned of a raft of towns to be hit
The weather service tweeted: “Hurricane Michael isn’t heading to any one town…
There are warnings for more than 300 miles of coastline. It’s forecast to be a large and dangerous hurricane at landfall.
- Life-threatening storm surge
- Damaging winds
- Life-threatening flash flooding”
11.30am update: National Weather Service urges citizens to prepare to evacuate as flood warnings extended
The NWS said: “Flood Watches extend from the Great Lakes to southeastern TX, and heavy rains overnight will bring flash flooding to many locations.
“Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard.
“Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”
Hurricane Michael: The NWS urged people to be aware of flood warnings
11.06am updates: Michael to be category 3 storm on landfall
The monstrous storm is forecast to become a major Category 3 hurricane by Wednesday evening, right before it reaches the coastline of Florida.
The life-threatening storm should make landfall Wednesday afternoon or evening, likely between Pensacola in the far western Panhandle and Apalachicola, directly south of Tallahassee on the coast.
Tallahassee is expected to be hit with dangerous winds up to 55mph from as early as Wednesday morning and people are urged to secure their property and prepare to evacuate.
Hurricane Michael, moving north-northwestward through the southern Gulf of Mexico, is located about 390 miles (630 km) south of Apalachicola, Florida with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph).
The storm is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday, the NHC said.
10.45am update: Florida likely to lose power for WEEKS
Tom Terry, Chief Meteorologist at Florida based news stations WFTV and WRDQ, predicts thousands could lose power, potentially for weeks, as the hurricane makes landfall in Florida on Wednesday.
On his Twitter, Mr Terry told his 15,800 followers: “Many thousands will likely lose power, perhaps for weeks as #Michael will make a direct impact.”
Hurricane Michael: This NOAA map shows where storm watches and warnings are in place
10.18am update: Tornado warning issued in latest NOAA update
The NOAA said there was now a real threat of tornados late into Wednesday over areas of the Florida Panhandle, the northern Florida Peninsula, and southern Georgia.
In its latest update, NOAA said: “On the forecast track, the center of Michael will continue to move over the southern Gulf of Mexico this morning, then move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico later today and tonight.
“The center of Michael is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday, and then move northeastward across the southeastern United States Wednesday night and Thursday.”
Hurricane Michael was located about 420 miles south of Panama City in Florida, according to the 4am update from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Maximum sustained winds measured 90mph and storm was moving north-northwestward though the southern gulf of Mexico at 12mph.
Storm surges measuring 3.6m high could lash parts of Florida with warnings of dangerous surf and rip currents.
To find out more about the NOAA 4AM CDT update, click here.
Hurricane Michael satellite: Tornado warnings are now in place
10.04am update: NOAA 4am CDT update now out
The report read: “At 400 AM CDT (0900 UTC), the center of Hurricane Michael was located near latitude 24.1 North, longitude 85.9 West. Michael is moving toward the north-northwest near 12 mph (19 km/h).
“A north-northwestward to northward motion is expected through tonight, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday.
“On the forecast track, the center of Michael will continue to move over the southern Gulf of Mexico this morning, then move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico later today and tonight.
“Michael is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday, and then move northeastward across the southeastern United States Wednesday night and Thursday.
“Maximum sustained winds are near 90 mph (150 km/h) with higher gusts. Strengthening is expected, and Michael is forecast to be a major hurricane at landfall in Florida.
“Weakening is expected after landfall as Michael moves through the southeastern United States.
9.45am update: Expected rainfall levels
- Western Cuba… up to eight inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches. This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
- Florida Panhandle and Big Bend, southeast Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina… four to eight inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches. This rainfall could lead to life threatening flash floods.
- Florida Peninsula, Florida Keys, North Carolina, portions of the Mid-Atlantic States, and the southern New England coast… two to four inches with isolated maximum amounts of six inches. This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods.
- Yucatan Peninsula…Additional rainfall less than one inch.
9.33am update: The NOAA reveals where flash flooding and rain will hit
The latest NOAA maps below shows exactly where flash flood warnings are in place and where rainfall is expected to be highest as the hurricane hits this week.
Tallahassee and Tampa are expected to be among the worst hit regions as the storm approaches, battering the coast with fierce winds, heavy rain and the likelihood of flash flooding.
See the maps below for more details.
Hurricane Michael tracker: The NOAA rain radar shows where downpours will hit
Hurricane Michael tracker: The NOAA have warned of flash flooding in these areas
9.26am update: Citizens urged to prepare ahead of incoming storm
The NHC warned the incoming hurricane could bring flash rainfall and deadly flooding, as the agency advised residents within the warning zone to also “prepare for life-threatening winds.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 35 counties along the panhandle and Florida’s Big Bend regions.
About 1,250 National Guard soldiers were aiding the process and more than 4,000 troops placed on standby.
In Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey declared an emergency for the entire state on Monday, anticipating wind damage, heavy rains and power outages.
9.00am update: Michael becoming unpredictable
The NHC discussion post reads: “Michael’s steady intensification over the past 48 hours in the face of 20-kt westerly shear defies traditional logic.
“Either the shear calculations are unrepresentative or Michael has become more inertially stable due to its large eye and large outer wind field, making it more shear resistant.”
8.41am update: Evacuations underway as storm strengthens further
Tens of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate in Wakulla, Gulf and Bay counties as the barrelling storm approaches.
Hurricane Michael could be a Category 3 storm when it makes landfall on Wednesday, becoming the most powerful storm to strike the panhandle in at least a decade.
“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.
“Evacuation routes can quickly turn into traffic nightmares. Please evacuate now.”
08.17am update: Latest Storm Surge warnings
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for…
• Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida to Anclote River Florida
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for…
• Anclote River Florida to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay
• Alabama/Florida border to Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
• Alabama/Florida border to Suwannee River Florida
• The Cuban province of Pinar del Rio
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
• Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
• Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border
• Suwanee River Florida to Chassahowitzka Florida
• The Cuban province of the Isle of Youth
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
• Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay
• Mississippi/Alabama border to the Mouth of the Pearl River
7.44am update: Latest National Hurricane Centre advisory warns of change
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) ‘s latest advisory warned Michael had changed in strength in the past few hours.
Storm surge and hurricane warnings are in effect for the North eastern Gulf Coast.
Currently, the hurricane is approximately 425miles south of Apalachicola, Florida, with wind speeds of 90mph.
The centre of Michael is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday.
Michael will then move northeast across the southeastern US Wednesday night and Thursday, the Miami-based weather forecaster added.
Despite not altering much in the past few hours, Michael is still forecast to strengthen tonight
5.33am update: Hurricane Michael continues to strengthen
Hurricane Michael is continuing to strength and has achieved sustained wind speeds of near 90 miles per hour according to the National Hurricane Centre.
The Centre asserts: “Steady to rapid strengthening is forecast during the next day or so, and Michael is expected to become a major hurricane by Tuesday night.”
Hurricane force winds can be felt up to 35 miles from the centre of the storm.
A hurricane warning is in place from the Alabama/Florida border to the Alabama/Mississippi border.
In addition hurricane watches are in place for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio and the coastal area between the Suwannee River and the Alabama/Florida border.
4.02am update: “Life-threatening storm surge” warning
The National Hurricane Centre has released another notice stating: “Life-threatening storm surge is likely along portions of the coasts of the Florida Panhandle, Big Bend and Nature Coast and a storm surge warning is in effect for these areas.
“Residents in these areas should follow all advice given by their local officials.”
They also note: “A hurricane warning has been issued for portions of the Florida Gulf Coast, and everyone in these areas should prepare for life-threatening winds associated with the core of Michael.
“Damaging winds will also extend inland across portions of the Florida Panhandle, southern Georgia and southeast Alabama as Michael moves inland.”
Heavy rain, which could potentially cause flooding, is expected across the affected area.
Hurricane Michael from above
1.51am update: Indiana Task Force 1 Activated ahead of Hurricane Michael
Indiana state has called-up Task Force 1, an emergency task force, as Hurricane Michael hurtles towards the coast.
Task Force 1 consists of emergency responders as well as civilians from a variety of backgrounds.
Meanwhile the US Air Force has announced it will evacuate its aircraft from Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.
They will be flown to alternative bases in Ohio and Texas.
In a statement the Air Force said: “Evacuated aircraft and designated personnel will return when the storm danger has passed.”
1.11am update: Storm surge warning in place for Florida – “life threatening” conditions
A storm surge warning has been put in effect for the Gulf Coast of Florida from the Anclote River to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line.
This means life threatening conditions are expected within the next 36 hours.
Hurricane Michael is forecast to be Category 3 strength by the time it reaches landfall.
Hurricane Michael batters hits Havana, capital of Cuba.
Monday October 8
11.42pm update: Hurricane warning in place for Florida Gulf Coast
A hurricane warning has been issued by the National Hurricane Centre for the Florida Gulf Coast from the Alabama border to Suwannee River.
This means hurricane conditions are expected in the area.
In addition a hurricane watch has been placed along the Alabama coast from the Florida to Mississippi borders, meaning hurricane conditions are possible.
Hurricane Michael has increased in strength and now has maximum sustained winds of near 80 miles per hour, and more powerful gusts.
It is expected to become a major hurricane overnight or early on Tuesday morning.
Hurricane strength winds currently extend up to 35 miles out from the centre of the storm.
James Bickerton takes over live reporting from Liam Doyle
9.45pm update: NOAA issues latest advisory – Florida Gulf Coast has hurricane warning
The NOAA has issued a selection of new warnings in their latest advisory, with fresh threats for parts of the southwestern US.
The following warnings are now in effect:
A Storm Surge Warning has been issued for the Gulf Coast of Florida from the Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Anclote River.
The Storm Surge Watch has been extended west of Navarre Florida to the Alabama/Florida border.
A Hurricane Warning has been issued for the Gulf Coast of Florida from the Alabama/Florida border eastward to Suwannee River.
A Hurricane Watch has been issued from the Alabama/Florida border westward to the Mississippi/Alabama border.
A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued from the Alabama/Florida border westward to the Mississippi/Alabama border and from Suwannee
River Florida southward to Chassahowitzka Florida.
A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued from the Mississippi/Alabama border westward to the Mouth of the Pearl River.
Storms projected route according to the National Hurricane Centre
9.15pm update: Donald Trump brands Michael “a very big one”
Donald Trump is speaking at a police chiefs’ convention in Orlando, where he talked about the threat of encroaching hurricane Michael, now a category 2, and said it was a “very big one”.
He said: “As Hurricane Michael nears landfall, we are working with state and local officials in Florida to take all are in precautions and we urge all residents to be prepared and to heed local officials.
“I told Rick Scott, we are ready for you.”
9pm update: Oil production under threat from Michael
Major American oil companies are at risk from the incoming storm, which have begun to evacuate workers.
The Gulf coast is home to 17 percent of the daily US crude oil output according to the US Energy Information Administration.
Companies such as BP Plc and Exxon Mobil are situated in the area, and they have begun evacuating personnel from Gulf of Mexico production platforms.
Gulf of Mexico oil production is under threat from Michael
8.30pm update: Whitehouse issues tweet on hurricane Michael
The Whitehouse twitter account has said President Trump is working to aid preparation efforts.
The full tweet reads: “President @realDonaldTrump is working with state and local officials in Florida on preparedness ahead of Hurricane Michael’s landfall.”
8.03pm update: Storm surge between 7 and 11 feet
Hurricane Michael has rapidly intensified in the space of 24 hours and if it does come ashore as a major Category 3 or 4 storm on Wednesday, it would be the first “major” hurricane to strike the US this hurricane season, as Hurricane Florence weakened prior to landfall.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting storm surge between 7 and 11 feet in certain areas, Florida Gov Rick Scott said on Monday.
The NHS warned of a “risk of “life-threatening storm surge.”
Some model projections show declining shear as the storm moves closer to Florida during the next two to three days, allowing for even greater strengthening.
While the storm’s most damaging impacts will be confined to the region close to where the centre makes landfall, much of the state will see impacts from the hurricane, in the form of heavy rains and gusty winds, particularly along the state’s Gulf Coast.
Life-threatening storm surge expected along much of the coast of the Florida Panhandle
7.35pm update: School and university closures
Florida State University said its campuses in Tallahassee and Panama City will be closed from Tuesday through Friday.
All schools in Panama City and surrounding Bay County will be closed from on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Leon County officials in Tallahassee were closing all schools from Tuesday through Friday.
Mandatory evacuation orders were issued on Monday for residents in various areas in Gulf Country, Florida, according to a statement from county emergency officials.
7.03pm update: NHC latest advisory
In its latest advisory issued at 2pm EDT (7pm BST) the center said Michael is expected to produce the following rainfall:
- Western Cuba – 4 to 8 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches
- Florida Panhandle and Big Bend into the Carolina – 4 to 8 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches
- Florida Peninsula, Florida Keys, portions of the Mid-Atlantic States, and the southern New England coast – 2 to 4 inches with local amounts of 6 inches, which could lead to life-threatening flash floods
- Yucatan Peninsula – 1 to 2 inches
Hurricane Michael path LIVE: The NHC estimated arrival wind times from Hurricane Michael
6.38pm update: Florida State University to close
Florida State University said its campuses in Tallahassee and Panama City will be closed from Tuesday through Friday.
The university is expected to return to normal on Monday, October 15.
The university announced on Monday that its main Tallahassee and Panama City campuses will close at 12.01am on Tuesday and remain closed for the rest of the week.
Students are encouraged to discuss possible travel plans with family and friends.
FSU said it is prepared to handle students’ needs during the storm and that campus residence halls and dining facilities will remain open.
Hurricane Michael path LIVE: A satellite image shows Hurricane Michael off the US Gulf Coast
6.14pm update: Hurricane Michael path
The NHC said in its 11am EDT update (3pm BST) the centre of Hurricane Michael was moving northward near the western tip of Cuba and into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by Monday evening.
The hurricane will then move east the eastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday and Tuesday night and will move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday and move move northeastward across the southeastern United States Wednesday night and Thursday.
“Hurricane conditions will spread over portions of western Cuba this afternoon, where a hurricane warning is now in effect. Tropical storm conditions are expected over the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula and the Isle of Youth today,” the National Hurricane Center said.
“Michael is expected to produce heavy rainfall and flash flooding over portions of western Cuba and the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico during the next couple of days.”
The current path of Hurricane Michael sees it moving across Cuba and into Florida
5.51pm update: Watches and warnings in effect
The following watches and warnings are in effect:
• A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio
• A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Cuban province of the Isle of Youth and the coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, including Cozumel
• A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Navarre Florida to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay
• A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Alabama-Florida border to Suwannee River Florida
• A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay and Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border
Hurricane Michael path LIVE: Hurricane watches and storm surge warnings are in effect
5.34pm update: State of emergency declared in 26 counties
Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 26 counties along the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend.
The governor declared a state of emergency for Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Hamilton, Suwannee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy and Citrus counties.
A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for coastal areas of Gulf County, according to a news release from the Port St. Joe Police Department.
Governor Scott advised Gulf Coast residents to prepare for possible evacuation orders and he has put more than 5,000 National Guard soldiers on alert.
He wrote on Twitter: “Families should take the opportunity TODAY to make sure they have three days of food and water, as well as all needed medications.
“EVERY FAMILY must be prepared. We can rebuild your home, but we cannot rebuild your life.”
The storm will bring torrential rain, heavy winds and dangerous storm surges to many areas of Florida and the northeastern Gulf Coast on Wednesday.
Michael is currently 50 miles south of the western tip of Cuba.
5.14pm update: Michael develops into Category 1 hurricane
Tropical Storm Michael developed into a hurricane on Monday as it continues to strengthen.
Michael is a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75mph and could make landfall as a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.
The hurricane is forecast to hit Florida on Wednesday before then moving northeast on Wednesday and Thursday along the Atlantic Coast and batter the Carolinas.
Michael has already battered parts of Mexico and Cuba with powerful winds and drenching rains on Sunday and into early Monday.