Michael's large size, strong winds and heavy rains could produce hazardous flooding along a stretch of Florida's Gulf coast with many rivers and estuaries where seawater pushed ashore by a hurricane could get trapped, said Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham.
People in areas that could be affected should take no chances against such a powerful surge, Scott said, adding, "No one's going to survive", such a wall of water.
It made landfall on the coast as a Category 1 hurricane on September 14 and drenched some parts of the state with 40 inches of rain.
Hurricane Michael grew stronger Tuesday as it roared toward Florida's Gulf Coast, gaining Category 2 status and threatening to wreak historic devastation on a state walloped by Hurricane Irma's historic rage 13 months ago. "You can not hide from this storm".
A major hurricane is a Category 5, 4 or 3 hurricane, which has winds of at least 111 miles per hour.
There will be no shelters open in Wakulla County, the sheriff's office warned on Facebook, because they are rated safe only for hurricanes with top sustained winds below 178kmh.
"It looks like what we are planning for Wednesday is tropical storm-force winds of 39 to 57 miles per hour", said Jonathan Lord, Flagler County's emergency services chief.
More than 300 miles of coastline from Mobile, AL, through the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend area are threatened, according to the NHC. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 45 miles from center and tropical-storm-force winds were outward up to 175 miles, the center said.
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A hurricane Warning was issued from the Alabama-Florida border eastward to Suwannee River.
The hurricane is expected to maintain at least tropical storm level strength as it crosses Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. He warned that storm surge could affect areas of Florida not in the storm's direct path.
I mean, it's an wonderful amount of water, life-threatening situation when it comes to the water. "Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other unsafe conditions". He focused on islands off the coast whose bridges may close as the storm approaches. "And then you're riding it out in your vehicle instead of something else".
Michael also could dump up to a foot of rain over some Panhandle communities before it sweeps through the Southeast and goes out to sea over the next few days.
The governor has declared a state of emergency in 35 counties and is stressing that residents should "absolutely" evacuate if ordered to.
His urgent message came shortly after President Trump approved an emergency declaration in the state, extending federal resources to Florida in anticipation of the impending hurricane.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency for 92 counties.
If high winds strike Maryland, the southern and eastern portions of the state are again at the greatest risk. A coastal flood advisory is in effect for Flagler County through Wednesday.
In Florida, nearly three dozen shelters opened or were prepared to open as the storm neared. Wind damage is more likely than when the remnants of Florence drifted through the area on September 15. Ali Sages wrote on Twitter. Many filled sandbags and boarded up homes and lined up to buy gas and groceries before leaving town. Cuban authorities said they evacuated about 400 people from low-lying areas.
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