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Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum (left) helps Eboni Sipling fill up sandbags in Tallahassee, Florida, ahead of Hurricane Michael.

The hurricane is expected to be the most powerful storm to strike the southern U.S. state's panhandle in at least a decade.

"This storm can kill you". "That's the criticality of following directions". After Hurricane Irma past year, 14 people died when a South Florida nursing home lost power and air conditioning.

"My expectation is if you're responsible for a patient, you're responsible for the patient. Take care of them", he said. It's as simple as that.

Evacuations have been ordered in parts of 10 counties. Tropical storm force winds (39 miles per hour or higher) are possible as far north as Greenville, Troy and Eufaula. "It will be life-threatening and extremely unsafe".

"For emergencies, please call 911 and do not hesitate to call the Consulate at +1-646-630-2575 for further assistance" the consulate said on its Twitter account. "We can rebuild your home, but we cannot rebuild your life".

Michael is forecast to be the most destructive storm to hit the Panhandle in decades.

He said, "There's nothing between us and this storm but warm water and I think that's what terrifies us about the potential impacts".

Ivey signed the emergency declaration Monday in anticipation of wide-spread power outages, wind damage and heavy rain associated with the storm.

In inland areas closer to the Gulf Coast, scattered showers and the potential for thunderstorms and heavy rain on Tuesday afternoon and night. The storm's interaction with a high pressure to the north is helping to create hazardous conditions on local beaches where Weather Service advisories are in effect. The NHC has issued numerous hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge warnings for Florida and its neighboring states of Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama.

Michael underwent a period of "rapid intensification" on Sunday and Monday, its winds strengthening by more than 35 miles per hour.

The National Hurricane Center predicted Tuesday that tropical-storm-force winds would probably arrive on the southern coast early Wednesday morning. Its center is located 200 miles south southwest of Apalachicola and 225 miles south of Panama City. As a result, the northeastern Gulf Coast is undergoing mandatory evacuations - that includes the Florida Panhandle (stretching into Big Bend) as well as parts of southeast Alabama and southern Georgia.

A hurricane warning is in place from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida.

Emergency officials in both counties and statewide are closely watching the hurricane. Forecasters also warned spinoff tornadoes would also be a threat. Scott is urging people along the Gulf Coast to finish their storm preparations Monday evening.

Hurricane Michael would be the first major hurricane to hit the panhandle since Hurricane Dennis in 2005, which made landfall near Pensacola, according to hurricane centre data.

If it makes landfall as a Category 3 it will be the first major hurricane to hit the Panhandle since Hurricane Dennis came ashore near Pensacola on July 10, 2005 with 130 miles per hour winds.

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.

Either way, residents should "be prepared like you would with any approaching storm", he said.