Hurricane Michael gains strength on course for north Florida

MIAMI (AP) — Michael has gained new strength over warm tropical waters and is forecast to quickly intensify into a major hurricane before a midweek landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast

In the Florida Panhandle and surrounding areas, people are frantically boarding up homes, filling sandbags and planning for evacuation routes away from the storm’s projected strike zone.

A hurricane hunter plane that bounced into the swirling eye of Michael off the western tip of Cuba late Monday found wind speeds were rising even as forecasters warned the storm could reach major hurricane status with winds topping 111 mph (179 kph) by Tuesday night.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott calls it a “monstrous hurricane” and is warning of a potentially devastating strike sometime Wednesday.

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