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Michael: Storm ‘Barreling’ Towards Fla., Ga. Coasts

Tropical Storm Michael was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane on Monday as it barreled toward the Gulf Coast. It could hit Florida as a Category 3 storm.

Hurricane Michael raced toward the Florida Panhandle on Tuesday (Oct. 9), threatening to bring the ferocious rains and winds of a powerful tropical cyclone to the coast and hundreds of miles inland, according to The New York Times.

The storm is expected to make landfall over the Panhandle on Wednesday as a major hurricane, with wind speeds of at least 111 miles per hour. Some counties have issued evacuation orders, and shelters have been opened.

Beyond destructive winds, the authorities said they feared torrential rains and perhaps 12 feet of storm surge. In an area that just two years earlier saw tremendous electrical disruptions from Hurricane Hermine, public officials and power companies face enormous pressure to keep the lights on or restore service quickly.

Here are the latest developments:

• As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said the storm had strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour and was moving north-northwest at 12 m.p.h. in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.

• A hurricane warning was in effect from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida. A hurricane watch was in effect from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

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