Some additional strengthening is possible today before Michael makes landfall in the Florida Panhandle or the Florida Big Bend area.
Weather Channel meteorologist Stu Ostro shared images a year ago comparing the creepy face sightings from Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Tolls were being suspended in the state's northwest region to ease the evacuation process, and the Florida Highway Patrol is sending almost 350 state troopers to the Panhandle and Big Bend areas, Scott said.
4 P.M. What the Hurricane Center has been predicting has come to pass - Hurricane Michael has strengthened into a major hurricane. "The time to prepare is now".
Petro says the problems with Michael will be compounded since the storm is coming just weeks after Hurricane Florence.
But here are ten reasons to FEAR Hurricane Michael.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the hurricane was 395 miles (635 kilometers) south of Panama City, Florida, and 365 miles (590 kilometers) south of Apalachicola, Florida.
By the time it hits Florida the winds will be at category three, hitting speeds of 111mph to 129mph.
While it's likely to weaken as it moves across the southeastern United States, its heavy rains and flooding effects will spread far and wide.
While most homes around him are vacation rentals or summer getaways for their owners, Sadousky had stayed put through more than four decades of storms. A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life- threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline. HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND -------- STORM SURGE: The combination of a risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency had numerous teams deployed and ready to respond, said FEMA spokesman Jeff Byard. She's especially concerned about widespread power outages. The hurricane was moving north at 12 miles per hour.
The devastating winds reached gusts of 150mph, with 50,000 tourists evacuated in the Florida Keys. "As Hurricane Michael nears landfall, we are working with state and local officials in Florida to take all necessary precautions", Trump said Monday.
The last NHC report said the fast-moving storm was about 180 miles (325 km) from Panama City, Florida.
Florida Panhandle's Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan issued a chilling warning to residents who choose to ride out the storm at home.
People in areas that could be affected should take no chances against such a powerful surge, Scott said, adding, "No one's going to survive", such a wall of water.
Buildings exposed to standing water during the storm were contaminated with mould, with property damage estimated at £7.6b ($10b).
AccuWeather chief Joel Myers said Michael is forecast to roll through the region much more quickly than did the lingering Florence, which dumped up to 40 inches of rain in some areas.