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Florida Residents Warned To Prepare For "monstrous" Hit Of Hurricane

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Florida Governor has warned residents of the southern US state to prepare immediately for a "monstrous" hit of Hurricane Michael Wednesday, as it has been upgraded to an "extremely dangerous" category 4 storm.

Authorities have urged more than 370,000 people to evacuate and move to higher ground after the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the fast approaching storm has sustained winds of 145mph (230km/h), and is due to make landfall any time afternoon in Florida panhandle.

In its latest bulletin issued at 7 am EDT, the Miami-based weather forecasting agency warned of "Life-threatening storm surge, hurricane force winds, and heavy rainfall, imminent."

A "Storm Surge Warning", which means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, is in effect for Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Anclote River Florida.

"The eye of Michael is expected to move ashore over the Florida Panhandle later today, move northeastward across the southeastern United States tonight and Thursday, and then move off the Mid-Atlantic coast away from the country on Friday," NHC said in its latest Public Advisory.

The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide is expected to cause coastal areas to be flooded by rising waters up to a height of 9-14 ft.

Hurricane conditions are also predicted to spread across southeastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia later today.

A few tornadoes are anticipated across parts of the Florida Panhandle and the northern Florida Peninsula through this afternoon.

Florida Governor Rick Scott urged residents to listen to officials, and activated 2,500 members of the National Guard in response.

Following his request, President Donald Trump approved a pre-landfall emergency declaration for 35 Florida counties.

Scott said the state is prepared to respond to the potential devastating impacts from Hurricane Michael.

Schools and state offices in the area are to remain shut this week.

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