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Tracking Hurricane Michael: Hurricane Michael, now a Category 3 storm, is barreling toward the Fl...

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Hurricane Michael was upgraded to a “potentially catastrophic” Category 4 storm early Wednesday by the National Hurricane Center and was poised to crash into the Florida Panhandle later in the day with historic force. In an 8 a.m. update, an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter crew reported top sustained winds up to of 145 mph with higher gusts. Michael’s eye was about 90 miles southwest of Panama City and 90 miles southwest of Apalachicola, moving north at 13 mph. Tropical-storm force winds extending 185 miles from the center were already lashing the coast. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said it was too late for people in the immediate path of the storm to flee. "The time for evacuating along the coast has come and gone," Scott tweeted Wednesday. "First responders will not be able to come out in the middle of the storm. If you chose to stay in an evacuation zone, you must SEEK REFUGE IMMEDIATELY." Brock Long, administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, warned that the brutal storm would "stay intact" as a hurricane as it roars through the Florida Panhandle and through parts of Alabama and Georgia. Long said the storm could leave wide swaths of the region powerless for weeks.

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