Mandatory evacuation orders were issued on Monday for residents in various areas in Florida's Gulf and Bay counties, according to a statement from county emergency officials.
In Florida, state offices, schools and universities were set to close Tuesday through the end of the week in panhandle counties. As of the 4pm CDT advisory Monday evening, Michael was a category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour.
According to the NHC, Michael will likely make landfall early Wednesday morning, and is "forecast to be a risky major hurricane".
It is expected to be a major Category 3 hurricane by the time it hits Florida on Wednesday, before moving northeast across the southeastern United States through Thursday.
The first rains from Michael were already beginning to soak the Florida Keys on Monday, with up to four inches (10 centimeters) expected to fall through Tuesday.
Aside from causing power outages, flooding and property damage, Michael could also worsen a toxic algae bloom that has plagued Florida's beaches for a year.
Michael has the potential to be the strongest storm in the region since Hurricane Eloise swept across Bay County in September 1975 with 110 miles per hour winds.
Tropical storm strength wind gusts will be possible across Middle Georgia during the time period from Wednesday evening into Thursday morning.
President Trump, speaking at a law enforcement convention in Florida, said his administration is prepared to deal with the impacts of Hurricane Michael.
Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday the winds will become stronger and gusty. Two days from now, forecasts project it will be a major hurricane (category three or stronger) bearing down on the gulf coast of Florida.
As Hurricane Michael marches toward the Gulf Coast, and eventually, Georgia, several veterans in 11Alive's newsroom brought up Hurricane Opal - a 1995 hurricane that took a similar path.
Florida's governor mobilized National Guard troops and thousands of Gulf Coast residents were ordered evacuated on October 8, two days before Hurricane Michael was forecast to slam ashore with life-threatening waves, winds and rains.
Hurricane watches have been issued for the Alabama-Florida border, meaning hurricane conditions are expected within the next 48 hours as the storm continues to rapidly intensify. "It looks like another big one", he said. Storm surge warnings were also in place along the Florida and Alabama coasts. He urged residents to quickly wrap up final storm preparations Monday, calling it a "monstrous storm" with great destructive potential.