Hurricane Michael upgraded to 'extremely dangerous' Category 4 storm

Weather forecast: PM thunderstorms expected

But fears lingered that some failed to heed the calls to get out of Michael's way as the hard-charging storm began speeding north over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters expected it to hit the coast later in the day and warned of devastating winds and unsafe storm surge of 12 feet or higher.

Florida officials said roughly 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast had been urged or ordered to evacuate.

In the storm-weary Carolinas, Hurricane Michael's approach is stoking fresh fears among homeowners who still have tarps on their roofs or industrial dehumidifiers drying their floors from destruction left by Hurricane Florence.

Overnight Tuesday, Florida Gov.

Aja Kemp, 36, planned to stay in her mobile home in Crawfordville.

"We've been through this before", she said. "But in my experience, it's always blown way out of proportion".

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Steve Litschauer, the interim director of the Manatee County Emergency Management Center, said Hurricane Michael could bring 2 to 4 feet of storm surge along the coast with an additional 1 to 3 inches of rain.

Because of the storm's potential power, mandatory evacuation orders are already underway for an estimated 12,000 people, including those living in Panama City Beach and other low-lying parts of the coast.

"I know people are worn out from Florence, but don't let this storm catch you with your guard down", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said, adding, "A number of homes have rooftop tarps that could be damaged or blown away with this wind". That included Pensacola Beach but not in Pensacola itself, a city of about 54,000.

Michael could dump up to a foot (30 centimeters) of rain over some Panhandle communities before its remnants go back out to sea by way of the mid-Atlantic states over the next few days.

"Today it is about life and safety", Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum said. Michael was moving north at 12 miles per hour (19 kph) and is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and heavy rain to the northeastern Gulf Coast. The NHC forecasts up to 8 inches for the panhandle, southeast Alabama, and parts of southwest and central Georgia.

According to the Associated Press, six people were killed in Honduras, four in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador.

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