Hurricane Michael evacuation: Florida declares emergency - Scott activates national guard

Hurricane Michael evacuation: Florida declares emergency - Scott activates national guard

The last major hurricane - Category 3 or above - to hit the Panhandle was Hurricane Dennis, which made landfall near Pensacola in 2005, according to hurricane centre data.

A hurricane warning was in place from the Okaloosa/Walton county line to the Suwannee River and a tropical storm warning was in effect for north of Fernandina Beach, Fla., to Duck, N.C., and Pamlico and Albemarle sounds.

A fast and furious Hurricane Michael sped toward the Florida Panhandle on Tuesday with 120 miles per hour winds and a potential storm surge of 13 feet, giving tens of thousands of people precious little time to get out or board up.

On the forecast track, Michael was expected to pass northeast through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia on Wednesday Thursday as a tropical storm.

Forecasters say some regions of the U.S. may see 12in (30cm) of rain, and storm surges of up to 12ft (3.6m).

Heavy rainfall was projected for areas in the storm's path. Isolated areas could get 12 inches and life-threatening flash floods.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned it was a "monstrous hurricane", and his Democratic opponent for the Senate, Sen.

Mr Scott said people in areas that could be affected should take no chances against such a powerful surge, adding: "No one's going to survive such a wall of water". They said Michael could be the strongest hurricane to hit that stretch of coastline in 13 years.

TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 08: Drivers line up for gasoline as Hurricane Michael bears down on the northern Gulf coast of Florida on October 8, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. No longer. Michael was expected to bring surging seas up 9 feet (2.75 metres) above ground level at Keaton Beach. Cedar Key to Chassahowitzka could see storm surge topping out between 4 feet to 6 feet.

Steve Litschauer, the interim director of the Manatee County Emergency Management Center, said Hurricane Michael could bring 2 to 4 feet of storm surge along the coast with an additional 1 to 3 inches of rain.