Hurricane Michael moved up to category three later on Tuesday and is expected to reach category four before it touches the coast of Florida.
Currently about 200 miles south-southwest of the state, it is heading towards Florida Panhandle, land strip on Gulf of Mexico.
According to the Florida governor Rick Scott, the hurricane is capable of causing “devastating damage” as it is due to make a landfall on Wednesday afternoon.
Scott declared the threat as the most deadly in decades. 2,500 members of the National Guard have been activated.
Approximately 120,000 people have been asked to evacuate their homes. But concerns have been raised as many people have not taken the warning as urgent and serious. People have also been warned by the emergency services that they would be on their own if the situation goes haywire.
Tommy Ford, Bay County sheriff said, “I am not seeing the level of traffic on the roadways that I would expect when we’ve called for the evacuation of 75% of this county.”
Larry Couch, Chief of fire department Panama City Beach said, “If they decide to stay, there will be a point where we can’t get to them.We will shut down operations at a certain point and when we do that, they’re on their own.”
Hurricane Michael could be seen as the strongest storm in the region after Hurricane Dennis in 2005, with the National Hurricane Center claiming that Michael’s sustained winds have increased to almost 125mph. Parts of Florida saw storm surges of 9 to 13ft and up to a foot of rain.
The aftermath of the storm could be devastating, wherein roads could be blocked, trees uprooted, building destroyed and power cut for days.
In Central America, thirteen people died as the storm hit the region with rains and winds of up to 85mph. Michael is expected to further move to Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.