Michael roared down on the Florida Panhandle strengthening into a Category 4 hurricane early Wednesday before it crashes against the region’s white-sand beaches, fishing villages and coastal communities later in the day.
With Wilmington cut off from the rest of North Carolina by still-rising floodwaters from Florence, officials plan to airlift food and water to a city of nearly 120,000 people as rescuers elsewhere pull inland residents from homes threatened by swollen rivers.
Coastal residents fleeing a potentially devastating blow from Hurricane Florence encountered empty gasoline pumps and depleted store shelves as the monster storm neared the Carolina coast with 140 mph (225 kph) winds and drenching rain that could last for days.
Tropical Storm Gordon is continuing to strengthen and is expected to become a hurricane late Tuesday when it hits the central U.S. Gulf Coast, including coastal Mississippi. From there, it is forecast to move inland over the lower Mississippi Valley on Wednesday.