MIAMI (AP) — Hurricane Michael has strengthened into a Category 2 storm with top wind speeds of 100 mph (155 kph) as it continues its path toward the Florida Panhandle.
As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, the storm was moving north-northwestward over the southern Gulf of Mexico at about 12 mph (19 kph).
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.
Mandatory evacuations are in effect along much of Florida’s northern Gulf Coast, stretching from the Panhandle into the area known as the Big Bend.
Michael is forecast to hit the Florida coast Wednesday before moving over Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas Wednesday night and Thursday.