The Florida Disaster website on October 9 said that parts or all of Bay County, Citrus County, Franklin County, Dixie County, Gulf County, Jackson County, Levy County, Okaloosa County, Taylor County, Wakulla County, and Walton County have been issued mandatory evacuation orders. As Michael moves inland, southern Georgia and southeast Alabama can expect damaging winds, too. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 35 miles from the core and tropical-storm-force winds out 175 miles.
The storm's center and where it makes landfall with its destructive winds represent just one of several concerns.
Fueled by warm tropical waters, fast-strengthening Michael could gain major hurricane status with winds topping 111 miles per hour (179 kph) before its anticipated landfall Wednesday on the Panhandle or Big Bend area of Florida, forecasters have warned.
A map posted by the hurricane center Tuesday continues to show the Columbus area with as much as a 70 percent chance of experiencing tropical storm winds from Michael, which would be at least 39 miles per hour.
"If you decide to stay in your home and a tree falls on your house or the storm surge catches you and you're now calling for help, there's no one that can respond to help you", Morgan said. "You will see power outages", said Jeff Byard, associate administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Office of Response and Recovery.
Forecasters said parts of Florida's marshy, lightly populated Big Bend area could see up to 3.7 metres of storm surge.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida's Democratic nominee for governor, had planned to campaign in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday, but instead threw himself into helping his city's residents fill sandbags and get their storm preparations completed. A tropical storm watch was also issued for the eastern coasts of Georgia and SC.
The storm's effects will be felt far from the eye of the hurricane.
USA producers in the Gulf cut oil production by about 40 percent and natural gas output by 28 percent on Tuesday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said. "Residents in these areas should follow all advice given by their local officials", the hurricane center said. The most probable landfall location is near Panama City, but even less than 24 hours before landfall, the average position error is 30 to 40 miles. He focused on islands off the coast whose bridges may close as the storm approaches. The strongest wind gusts associated with the storm are expected to impact areas along and south of Warrenton to Macon to the Columbus line. "And then you're riding it out in your auto instead of something else".
Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 35 counties and activated hundreds of National Guard troops to prepare for Hurricane Michael's onslaught.
"We're looking at a significant storm with significant impact, possibly greater than I've seen in my 59 years of life", Johnson said of the city, straddling the shore of Apalachicola Bay, a Gulf of Mexico inlet that reaps about 90 percent of Florida's oysters.
"I feel like that they should've provided something", she said. More than 10,000 people were ordered out of Panama City Beach alone, effective at 6 a.m. Tuesday.