Hurricane Michael isn't expected to hit Manatee County directly, but it will bring some wet weather.
Hurricane Michael weakened to near tropical storm strength Wednesday night as it moved across southwestern Georgia, the National Hurricane Center said.
At 5 a.m., the centre of the hurricane was bearing down on a stretch of the Florida Panhandle, still about 140 miles (225 kilometres) from Panama City and 130 miles (209 kilometres) from Apalachicola, but moving relatively fast at 13 mph (21 kph).
Governor Scott warned in a news conference that Hurricane Michael is a "massive storm that could bring total devastation to parts of our state, especially in the panhandle".
Because of the storm's potential power, mandatory evacuation orders are already underway for an estimated 12,000 people, including those living in Panama City Beach and other low-lying parts of the coast. NHC said those areas will likely experience a "life-threatening" storm surge, where 9 to 13 feet of inundation is possible in the worst areas between Tyndall Air Force Base and Keaton Beach.
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Michael could dump up to a foot (30 centimetres) of rain over some Panhandle communities before its remnants go back out to sea by way of the mid-Atlantic states over the next few days. Rick Scott posted a series of tweets warning residents to prepare and evacuate. Michael was forecast to become a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 120 miles per hour when it makes landfall in the Florida panhandle later this week.
Accuweather captured this image of Hurricane Michael that looks like a skull. He added that people will "not be dragged out of their homes", but if they choose to stay they will be doing so at their own peril.
Again, if this wasn't made clear enough this storm is coming and you need to get out of its way.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida's Democratic nominee for governor, helped people fill sandbags.
Drawing energy from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the storm strengthened rapidly into a potentially devastating Category 3 by evening.