Michael could strengthen into a major hurricane with winds topping 111 miles per hour (178 kph) by Tuesday night before an expected strike Wednesday on the Panhandle or Big Bend, according to the National Hurricane Center. A Storm Surge Watch has been issued from Navarre to Anna Maria Island, including Tampa Bay.
The latest wind speed probabilities show over a 50 percent chance of winds of 40 miles per hour or greater for most of our area.
Michael was a Category 1 hurricane but could make landfall as a Category 3, and forecasters warned it could send down 10 to 30 centimetres of rain. A Hurricane Watch has been issued from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwanee River.
Florida State University also said it would cancel classes over the hurricane. Storm surge is not much of a concern because forecasters expect the hurricane to move quickly across the state, Martin said.
Ken Graham says the storm's large size, strong winds and heavy rains could produce a lot of flooding, and the shape of this stretch of coastline makes it particularly vulnerable to storm surge. A major hurricane is defined as Category 3 or greater on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with sustained winds of 111mph or greater.
With these additions, the state of emergency includes 35 Florida counties in total. Scott also activated 500 members of the Florida National Guard ahead of the storm.
The National Weather Service in Tallahassee said: "This is a storm to definitely take very seriously".
"As this system moves north into the Gulf, it is going to drag a lot of moisture up over Cuba and into South Florida".
"If we get some additional rainfall on Wednesday, then when the heavier stuff gets here with the hurricane on Thursday and Friday, that would cause some flooding", Panovich warned.
Tallahassee's Democratic Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is campaigning to succeed Scott as governor in next month's elections, suspended his campaign and returned to the state capital to oversee storm preparations.