PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Hurricane Michael is continuing to strengthen -- now a high-end Category 2. And further strengthening is expected through the day and into Tuesday night. Michael is expected to be near or at Category 4 strength at landfall.
In the Florida Panhandle and the big bend, full preparations must be completed by this evening. Winds will begin to pick up Tuesday night, and water will rise at the coast. The worst of the storm will move through the Panhandle on Wednesday.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is warning that Hurricane Michael is a "massive storm" that could bring "total devastation" to parts of the state.
Scott activated 2,000 members of the Florida National Guard on Tuesday to deal with the fast-moving storm expected to hit the state within the next 24 hours.
The governor said he is very concerned about a potentially "historic" storm surge when Michael makes landfall somewhere in the Panhandle.
The threat has already prompted mandatory evacuation orders in counties across northwest Florida. Scott said some places could experience a storm surge of between eight and 12 feet of water as Michael blows ashore.