Hurricane Michael today became a major cyclone, with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour (195 km / h), hours before it hits the northeastern coast of Florida, said the National Hurricane Center (NHC) today.
Michael strengthened in the last hours and already has category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale (of a maximum of 5) while heading north towards the coast of Florida, which is about 235 miles (375 kilometers).
In its latest newsletter, the NHC also warns that it expects the cyclone to become even stronger before it makes landfall this Wednesday in the "Panhandle" or "Big Bend" area, the northwest corner of the state, and then cross weakened the southeast of the country.
Meteorologists warn that Michael, who is traveling north at about 12 miles per hour (19 km / h), generates hurricane winds, heavy rain and a "deadly" rise in sea level that will reach Florida in the coming hours.
This rise in sea level, caused by the tide, the strong waves and a strong storm surge, could be up to 13 feet (3.9 meters) in some points of the Florida coast.
Hurricane winds extend from the eye of the cyclone to 45 miles (75 km), while those of tropical storm force (less than 75 m / h or 1199 km / h) are felt up to 175 miles (280 km).
For this reason, the northwest coast of Florida, part of the coast of Alabama, Georgia and areas of Mississippi and South Carolina, are under warnings of various categories.
Along with strong winds and rain, which could accumulate up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) in some areas, Michael could cause tornadoes in the northwest and in northern Florida and southern Georgia, where his governor, Nathan Deal, declared a state of emergency in 92 of its counties.
On Monday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who urged US President Donald Trump to do the same thing, took a similar decision, a measure that was announced on Tuesday and with which the president facilitates the arrival of federal assistance resources.
Trump warned today of the intensity of Hurricane Michael on Twitter, in which he warned that this cyclone is greater than Florence, which last month killed more than thirty people in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.