As of early Tuesday, Michael was 420 miles south of Panama City, Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph.
"I am concerned about the cone of uncertainty as Hurricane Michael is leaning west today", Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Hastings said in a statement Monday. It said it based the estimate on a storm-modeling tool that takes into account factors such as wind speed and the magnitude of the storm.
"The impact will be storm surge, very heavy rain and strong, gusty winds as it makes landfall", Bridges said.
Flooding rains of 10 to 20 centimetres, with hurricane force winds and storm surge of up to 3½ metres are in the forecast for the region.
Hurricane Michael howled closer to Florida's Gulf shore on Tuesday as a major Category 3 storm, and half a million coastal residents were urged to seek higher ground on the eve of a landfall forecast to bring towering waves and roof-shredding winds.
Tallahassee International Airport is suspending commercial flight activity as 12:01 a.m. ET on Wednesday but expects to resume activity on Thursday.
A major threat will be storm surges from the ocean waters, with warnings now up along the Florida Panhandle.
While Florence took five days between the time it turned into a hurricane and the moment it blew ashore in the Carolinas, Michael gave Florida what could amount to just two days' notice.
It is expected to weaken after landfall, as it moves northeastward across the southeastern states on Wednesday night and Thursday.
By 0001 GMT (Tuesday), Michael was off the western tip of Cuba´s Pinar del Rio province, churning to the north at 12 miles per hour (19 kilometers per hour), across from Mexico´s Yucatan peninsula.
Hurricane-force winds and strong rain were being felt in Cuba.
Forecasters say the storm could dump as much as 30 centimeters of rain in western Cuba, triggering life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
According to the Associated Press, six people were killed in Honduras, four people in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador. Most of the rain was blamed on a low-pressure system off the Pacific coast, but Michael in the Caribbean could have also contributed.
He said: "We don't know if it's going to wipe out our house or not".
Some 120,000 people people have been warned to evacuate along Florida's coast, where schools and state offices are to remain shut this week.
"If you're responsible for a patient, you're responsible for the patient".
By Monday morning, generators were sold out in many area stores, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
Hurricanes are violent storms that can bring devastation to coastal areas, threatening lives, homes and businesses.
"There's nothing between us and this storm but warm water, and I think that's what terrifies us about the potential impacts", Gillum said.
In the small Panhandle city of Apalachicola, Mayor Van Johnson Sr. said the 2,300 residents are frantically preparing for a major strike. Many filled sandbags and boarded up homes.
Even as the storm churned some 200 miles away from the Tampa Bay area, its effects could still be felt Tuesday as floodwaters reached the low-lying streets in areas such as Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach.
Wakulla County issued a dire warning, saying it won't open any of its shelters - because they're safety-rated only for storms up to Category 2 strength, WFSU reports.