weather

Updated at 2:00 a.m. ET Wednesday

Hurricane Michael has grown into a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds reaching 130 mph, as it barrels toward northwestern Florida, making it a much stronger storm than Hurricane Florence was when it made landfall as a Category 1 storm drenching the Carolinas last month, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Updated at 11:55 p.m. ET

Hurricane Michael is expected to strengthen rapidly over the next 24 to 36 hours and will be "a dangerous major hurricane when it reaches the northeastern Gulf Coast on Wednesday," the National Hurricane Center says.

The storm achieved hurricane status with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph Monday morning, triggering warnings of a life-threatening storm surge that could hit the Florida Gulf Coast. Later in the day, its sustained winds topped 90 mph, with stronger gusts.

Quan McWil / WJCT News

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is encouraging everyone in Duval County to stay alert and informed as Hurricane Michael makes its way toward Florida's Gulf Coast.

Michael became a hurricane Monday morning and is expected to strengthen before striking the Florida Panhandle later this week.

However, AAA does not currently expect the storm to have a direct impact on gasoline supplies or prices at the pump in Florida.

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday warned residents of the Panhandle and the Big Bend region to “seriously” plan for the impact of the rapidly developing Hurricane Michael, which is expected to reach Florida by mid-week with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph.

St. Augustine Officials Say Brace For Potential Flooding From Michael

Oct 8, 2018

Despite approaching Florida from the Gulf Coast side, Hurricane Michael is expected to have some impact on Northeast Florida.

Floridians from the Emerald Coast to the Nature Coast are urged to review their hurricane plan and be prepared to act on it within a couple of days.

Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday declared a state of emergency in Northwest Florida as a looming hurricane threatens to hammer the region in the middle of the week.

Scott said during a 6 p.m. news conference that he declared an emergency in 26 counties in the Panhandle and the Big Bend --- generally areas surrounding Tallahassee --- because of a storm in the Gulf of Mexico that became Tropical Storm Michael on Sunday.

Update 5:13 p.m.:  The City of Tallahassee will open additional sandbag locations Monday, Oct. 8. Withrop Park and Messer Park are presently open. The additional sites are:

  • Tekesta Park, at Tekesta Drive and Deer Lake Road in Killearn Lakes (County)
  • Apalachee Regional Park (Landfill), 7550 Apalachee Parkway (County)
  • J. Lee Vause, 6024 Old Bainbridge Road (County)
  • At the intersection of Oak Ridge at Ranchero roads (County)

County locations will be staffed, and all residents will need to bring their own shovel. Sand, bags and ties will be available for public use. Residents are asked to take no more than 20 bags (25 at City sites) so as to allow others to prepare. Staff will monitor the sites to replenish as needed.

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Original Story: Floridians from the Emerald Coast to the Nature Coast are urged to review their hurricane plan and be prepared to act on it within a couple of days. Tropical Storm Michael formed over the western Caribbean Sunday morning, and the National Hurricane Center says it could become a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico by Wednesday.

Jacob Sippel / U.S. Navy/Naval Hospital Jacksonville

A North Carolina military couple evacuated to Northeast Florida to escape Hurricane Florence will return home with a family double the size.

David Luckin / WJCT

Two Jacksonville-area hospitals are opening their doors to patients being evacuated from facilities in the path of Hurricane Florence while Florida utility crews make their way to the Carolinas.

Updated at 6:15 a.m. ET on Wednesday

The severity of Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm, is intensifying and triggering hurricane warnings along the coasts of the Carolinas, the National Hurricane Center announced in its 5 a.m. Wednesday update.

Jacksonville flooding
Robert Torbert

Although current tracks have Hurricane Florence staying well north of Jacksonville, the River City remains in a vulnerable position when it comes to storms.

Bruce Lipsky / The Florida Times-Union

With Florence now a major hurricane and currently forecast to head to the Carolinas, First Coast area beachgoers need be aware of possible life threatening rip-currents this week.

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