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‘Monstrous’ Hurricane Michael closing in on Florida with 110 mph winds: ‘This storm can kill you’

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Hurricane Michael is closing in on the Florida Panhandle, forecast to make landfall as a “monstrous” Category 3 storm with a dangerous storm surge of up to 12 feet, officials said.

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“You cannot hide from storm surge,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned at a news conference Tuesday. “We can rebuild your house, but we cannot rebuild your life.”

“This storm can kill you,” Scott said. “You need to evacuate if you’re ordered to do so.”

PHOTO: This NOAA/RAMMB satellite image taken on Oct. 9, 2018 at 7:45 a.m UTC shows Hurricane Michael off the US Gulf Coast.NOAA/RAMMB/AFP/Getty Images
This NOAA/RAMMB satellite image taken on Oct. 9, 2018 at 7:45 a.m UTC shows Hurricane Michael off the US Gulf Coast.

Michael, now a Category 2 storm with winds of 110 mph, is expected to become a Category 3 hurricane with 111 mph winds later on Tuesday.

The storm is forecast to make landfall near Panama City, Florida, as a strong Category 3 on Wednesday afternoon.

PHOTO: Michael is expected to make landfall somewhere near Panama City, Fla., on Wednesday afternoon.ABC News
Michael is expected to make landfall somewhere near Panama City, Fla., on Wednesday afternoon.

Besides the dangerous storm surge, residents should also prepare for torrential rain and major flooding, Scott said, with 4 to 8 inches of rain expected and even 12 inches possible in some areas.

Scott called the storm “monstrous,” adding, “We haven’t seen anything like this in the Panhandle in decades.”

PHOTO: From left, Haskel Johnson, Daniel Tippett, Jennifer Tippett and Nobuko Johnson fill sand bags at the Lynn Haven Sports Complex in Lynn Haven, Fla., Oct. 8, 2018, to prepare for Hurricane Michael.Patti Blake /News Herald via AP
From left, Haskel Johnson, Daniel Tippett, Jennifer Tippett and Nobuko Johnson fill sand bags at the Lynn Haven Sports Complex in Lynn Haven, Fla., Oct. 8, 2018, to prepare for Hurricane Michael.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Florida cities including Tallahassee, Panama City, Apalachicola and Pensacola.

Florida State University has closed through Friday and the Pensacola International Airport is set to close Wednesday.

In Carrabelle, Florida, resident Cole Lauzau said she is planning to try riding out the storm at home with her roommate and their dog.

They live across the street from a swamp, so Lauzau is bracing for water to rise up to their home.

For now, Lauzau is trying to plan ahead, making sure they have enough water, food and sandbags.

“We’re a little nervous,” she told ABC News. “If we can possibly ride it out safely, we’re going to try it. And if it gets much worse … we will go.”

Warnings are in effect for more than 300 miles of coastline, the National Weather Service said.

PHOTO: A hurricane warning and tropical storm warnings are in place along the Florida and Alabama coasts.ABC News
A hurricane warning and tropical storm warnings are in place along the Florida and Alabama coasts.

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.

Scott has declared a state of emergency in 35 counties in Florida.

In Alabama, where residents may see massive power outages, high winds and heavy rain, Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency statewide.

North Carolina and South Carolina will likely see heavy rainfall, which could cause flooding in areas already damaged by last month’s Hurricane Florence.

PHOTO: Michael will move quickly through the Southeast by the end of the week.ABC News
Michael will move quickly through the Southeast by the end of the week.

ABC News’ Anne Flaherty, Scott Withers and Meghan Keneally contributed to this report.

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