"Take care of them".
"You can't hide from storm surge", Gov. Scott said during a Tuesday morning press conference. "Do not think you can survive it".
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said the Florida Forest Service and the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement are preparing teams to support urban search and rescue operations.
"Today it is about life and safety", Gillum said.
In the Caribbean, a hurricane warning is in effect for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio.
If it makes landfall as a Category 4, it'll be the strongest hurricane to hit the Florida Panhandle in recorded history, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.
US Rep. Neal Dunn, whose district includes Panama City, urged people under evacuation orders to get out before tropical-storm-force winds arrived.
"Hurricane conditions will spread over portions of western Cuba this afternoon, where a hurricane warning is now in effect". A hurricane watch has been posted for the northeast Gulf Coast from the Alabama/Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida, including Pensacola, Panama City and Tallahassee.
Energy companies halted almost a fifth of Gulf of Mexico oil production and evacuated staff from 10 platforms on Monday as Michael was forecast to become the strongest of three named storms to affect the US Gulf of Mexico this year. Parts of Florida's curvy Big Bend could see up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) of storm surge, while Michael also could dump up to a foot (30 centimeters) of rain over some Panhandle communities as it moves inland, forecasters said.
Warm ocean temperatures, which fuel storm development, are 2 to 4 degrees above normal and wind shear, which tends to slow hurricane development, was forecast to ease. The National Hurricane Center has enacted hurricane, tropical storm, and storm surge warnings for more than 300 miles of the Florida coast.
Michael is now centered about 120 miles east northeast of Cozumel and 70 miles south of the western tip of Cuba, and it is expected to work its way into the Gulf of Mexico, where warm waters will make the storm much stronger.
The Philippine Embassy in Washington advised some 232,000 Filipinos in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and SC to "monitor the movement of the storm and heed the warnings of local officials", the DFA said in a statement.
"Michael could be one of the worst hurricanes to ever strike the Florida Big Bend and Florida Panhandle region", warned Weather Channel hurricane expert Rick Knabb. Scott says that as evacuations are ordered, he will waive tolls.
Michael has left emergency responders in the Sunshine State scrambling to respond. Based on the latest analysis from the NHC, surge inundation flooding of 9 to 13 feet is possible in vulnerable areas between Mexico Beach and Keaton Beach.
Florida's northern Gulf Coast faces its most serious hurricane threat in more than a decade as Michael edges ever closer. But despite that, Michael has the potential to become a major hurricane, possibly a Category 3.
But should the state lack resources, "we have mechanisms, processes and procedures to get them into our state very quickly", Becker said, adding state officials are in contact with their counterparts in Florida to see if they have any needs.
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