As Michael moved over open water, energy companies halted almost one-fifth of Gulf of Mexico oil production and evacuated personnel from 10 platforms on Monday.
"South Florida will remain far enough away from Michael to avoid significant direct impacts", said a forecast discussion Tuesday morning from the Miami-South Florida branch of the National Weather Service.
The good news is there's a tremendous amount of support to keep the core of the remnants safely south of us so wind will not be a factor.
Tens of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate in Wakulla, Gulf and Bay counties.
Central Florida is not now in the cone of uncertainty as the Panhandle will apparently get the major impacts from the storm.
Some areas along the state's Big Bend area could see unsafe storm surge between six and 12 feet as Michael nears, the Hurricane Center reported. The biggest waves are expected from Indian Pass to Cedar Key, where they could reach 8 to 12 feet in height. As the storm approaches the coastline, she says this water will flow over a shallow sea bed and "overwhelm the dunes, which are relatively low and narrow".
The area from Cape San Blas to St. George is of particular concern, Doran added. "We're just now running out of regular (gas)", worker Danny Hess told CNN affiliate WJHG. It developed into a hurricane on Monday, and by today, more than 180,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders.
Among them was Betty Early, 75, a retiree who joined about 300 fellow evacuees huddled on makeshift bedrolls of blankets and collapsed cardboard boxes at an elementary school converted into an American Red Cross shelter in Panama City, near the storm's expected landfall.
Coastal residents rushed to board up their homes and stock up on bottled water and other supplies.
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Hurricane Michael satellite as of October 9, 2018.
Michael was forecast to have the power to uproot trees, block roads and knock out power for days by the time it hits Florida on Wednesday.
While Thursday's weather will be lousy, Cooper said he was not aware of any cancellations, including the opening day of the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh.
In Volusia County, emergency management director Jim Judge said residents are looking at "breezy conditions, some rain and potentially a couple of good gusts through the squalls". The D.C. area should get a total of maybe an inch, with perhaps two inches falling in Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore. Some rivers may rise more swiftly than before due to the wet ground.
Michael is a Category 2 storm, with sustained wind speeds of nearly 100 miles per hour (155 km/h), according to NOAA.
A satellite image taken at 10:20 a.m. Tuesday showed Michael as it bore down on Cuba.
Major hurricane Michael continues to intensify and grow as the eye points toward a landfall in the Panama City - Appalachicola area about 3-7 pm Wednesday.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the storm could unleash coastal storm surges of up to 3.7 meters along the Florida Panhandle and dump up to 30 cm of rain across Florida, Georgia and SC.
A particularly unsafe aspect of Opal was its storm surge, with the sea rising 8-14 feet east of the storm center as it came ashore.
Once it reaches land, Michael is forecast to weaken into a tropical storm when it passes through the East Coast, including the New York City area, by Friday morning.