Energy companies halted almost a fifth of Gulf of Mexico oil production and moved staff from 10 platforms on Monday as Michael was forecast to become the strongest of three named storms to affect the US Gulf of Mexico this year.
A hurricane warning is in effect for Florida cities including Tallahassee, Panama City, Apalachicola and Pensacola.
At 11 a.m. Tuesday, Michael was about 360 miles south of Panama City, moving north-northwestward at 12 mph.
Tropical-storm-force winds will be felt in the area starting early Wednesday, and mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders already have been issued in at least 16 Florida counties along and near the state's Panhandle and Big Bend coasts.
The WGNO weather team will continue to monitor the latest information on Hurricane Michael and will continue to bring you the latest updates on-air, online, and on social media.
Residents of the USA state of Florida are boarding up homes and seeking evacuation routes away from Hurricane Michael, forecast to slam ashore midweek with life-threatening waves, winds and rains.
Evacuations have been ordered in parts of 10 counties. The D.C. area should get a total of maybe an inch, with perhaps two inches falling in Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore.
In Georgia, which will be hit by damaging winds and downed power lines, Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday declared a state of emergency for 92 of his state's counties.
"Folks are ready from the government side, but we need citizens to also be ready", said Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is the Democratic candidate for governor in next month's election.
Predicting a hurricane is always a tricky business, and Ricketts allowed that "the track can always change", but she's relatively confident in this forecast, because the cold front "is really strong, and there's nothing really slowing it down".
Cruise ship Empress of the Seas reportedly got caught in Hurricane Michael's outer bands, CNN reported.
The clockwise churn of an area of high pressure centered over DE is what's keeping Michael on a more northerly path toward the Panhandle and away from South Florida, said AccuWeather senior hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski.
"We are running out of time", Scott said in a post on Twitter.
Floridans are being urged to seek shelter and to plan for major hurricane winds if they choose to stay. "There's nothing between us and this storm but warm water' and I think that's what terrifies us about the potential impacts". "Residents and businesses in coastal Alabama must be vigilant and closely monitor the storm's path and be prepared for a major hurricane".
Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 35 counties, activating 500 National Guard troops in preparation for the storm.
Forecasters say Hurricane Michael will strengthen into a major hurricane by late Tuesday as it continues on a unsafe path towards the southeastern US state of Florida.
State offices, schools and universities were to close on Tuesday through the end of the week in panhandle counties.
Michael is not expected to be a reprise of Florence, which pummeled the state for several days, producing record rainfall and river flooding, and has been blamed on 40 deaths in the state.
"Urgent warning about the rapid rise of water on the SW FL coast with the passage of #Irma's eye".
Interests along the northeastern and central Gulf Coast areas are advised to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Michael.
Late Monday, residents of far western Cuba were forecast to get up to eight inches of rain.