Michael forecast to grow into major hurricane
TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AP) - Forecasters expect Hurricane Michael to grow stronger still as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico on its way to Florida's Panhandle.
At 2 p.m. Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said Michael had top sustained winds of 110 mph (175 kph). That's just below the threshold for a "major" hurricane. Michael was moving north at 12 mph (19 kph) and is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and heavy rain to the northeastern Gulf Coast.
Officials in Bay County say they have not seen a rush of evacuees clogging roads inland - and that worries them with just hours left before Michael's landfall in the Panhandle.
Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said he's "not seeing the level of traffic" he would expect when three-quarters of the county's residents are under mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders.
The hurricane is expected to make landfall Wednesday in Florida before crossing Georgia and the Carolinas as a weaker storm.