Manatee County also was included in Scott's request that President Donald Trump declare a pre-landfall emergency in those 35 counties in preparation for Hurricane Michael.
Forecast projections show it strengthening to a category 3 storm with sustained winds of 120 miles per hour before making landfall along Florida Panhandle sometime late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning. We might also see some stronger storms that could bring isolated power outages.
After hitting Florida, the storm is forecast to move northeast on Wednesday and Thursday along the Atlantic Coast and batter the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence last month.
Once the storm makes landfall, some projections estimate that it could make its way across Georgia and into North and SC before moving out into the Atlantic ocean.
Florida's capital city of Tallahassee, which is in the Panhandle, opened two locations Sunday where residents could get sandbags to prepare for flooding. However, most other parts of the Gulf will see swell as well, including Texas and the West Coast of Florida.
Storm surge just east of where the center makes landfall could reach 8 to 12 feet, if the storm comes ashore around high tide.
A new hurricane is making its way toward Florida and is expected to bring more rainfall to southeastern North Carolina this week. The risk of life-threatening storm surge, heavy rainfall, and risky winds is increasing for the northeastern Gulf Coast. "This is a massive storm".
A tropical weather system rapidly strengthened into Hurricane Michael off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and forecasters said it was moving Monday into the Gulf of Mexico where warm waters would continue to fuel its development.
Hurricane watches and storm surge watches have been issued along the Florida Panhandle.
A tropical storm watch was issued from Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island, which also includes Tampa Bay.
Can New Hanover County's shelters handle a bigger storm?
According to Colorado State University hurricane scientist Phil Klotzbach, of the 15 major hurricanes that have struck the United States in October since 1851, 10 of them have hit Florida.
Hurlburt, near Valparaiso, Florida, is not planning to evacuate personnel, but officials at nearby Eglin Air Force Base are still deciding whether to order airmen to and their families to evacuate. The declaration would free up funding for protective measures as well as provide federal resources and assistance. Locally ordered evacuations of thousands of homes have begun, with 1,250 National Guard soldiers aiding the process and over 4,000 troops on standby, Scott tweeted.
"According to Tampa meteorologist Denis Phillips, the city "[isn't] completely out of the woods", despite the latest track update showing a shift to the west.