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Michael strengthens to Category 4 hurricane

Hurricane Michael was upgraded to a Category 4 storm early Wednesday morning as it barrels toward Florida.

The storm is expected to make landfall along the Gulf Coast sometime Wednesday near the Florida Panhandle. If it reaches land as a Category 4 storm, it would be the strongest storm to hit the Florida Panhandle since 1851, according to weather.com. 

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee warned Florida residents living along the Gulf Coast that Wednesday morning is their last opportunity to evacuate.{mosads}

“If you live along the coast and were told to evacuate…this is YOUR LAST CHANCE. Hurricane Michael is an unprecedented event and cannot be compared to any of our previous events. Do not risk your life, leave NOW if you were told to do so,” it tweeted.

About 375,000 people along the Gulf Coast have been urged or ordered to evacuate, The Associated Press reported. 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) on Sunday declared a state of emergency in preparation for Michael and has said the storm could be life-threatening.

President Trump on Tuesday also declared a state of emergency in Florida ahead of the hurricane making landfall, providing additional federal assistance and resources to Florida in its preparation and recovery efforts.

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