Michael will make landfall very close to Panama City, Florida as a high end category 4 hurricane.
The hurricane's sustained winds are expected to hit up to 120 miles per hour by late Tuesday, making it a major hurricane - the designation for Category 3 storms and above, on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale.
In a Facebook post Monday, the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office said no shelters would be open in Wakulla County because Michael was forecast to become a major hurricane with winds topping 111 miles per hour (178 kph).
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey declared an emergency for the entire state on Monday, anticipating wind damage, heavy rains and power outages.
The track takes the developing storm as a hurricane toward a landfall near the Florida Panhandle Wednesday.
"While the impacts are still uncertain, our area could experience increased wind activity and heavy rainfall, which could cause localised flooding and downed trees", Tallahassee officials said in a statement.
Escambia through Franklin counties in Northwest Florida are included in the hurricane watch.
"Additional strengthening is forecast, and Michael is expected to become a hurricane later today".
Florida State University and Leon County schools canceled classes from Tuesday through Friday.
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Alabama-Florida border to Suwannee River Florida. A hurricane watch is in effect for coastal Alabama and a tropical storm watch is in effect for coastal Mississippi.
North Carolina may receive 2cm to 7cm of rain, officials say, which could trigger flash flooding due to the existing level of saturation in the ground from Hurricane Florence, which struck North and SC last month. The primary threat will be tropical storm force winds, which are likely for most of our area.
A hurricane hunter plane reports Michael has gotten a little stronger as it moves off of the western tip of Cuba.
Forecasters warned that Michael's strength could be "catastrophic" for communities in its path - anywhere from Pensacola on the western flank of the Florida Panhandle to Tampa.
Another national, Neil Fung, said the storm looks like " a major one". He urged residents to quickly wrap up final storm preparations Monday, calling it a "monstrous storm" with great destructive potential.