ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has issued an emergency declaration for a considerable amount of the state as Hurricane Michael barrels closer to a likely landfall in the Florida Panhandle.

Deal’s declaration on Tuesday covers 92 Georgia counties and makes all state resources available to local governments.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday that wind gusts as high as 60 mph (97 kph) will be possible across parts of central Georgia, with the strongest winds south of Columbus and Macon.

Forecasters say rainfall in Georgia is expected to range from 3-5 inches (7.6-12.7 centimeters); with locally higher amounts of up to 7 inches (17.8 centimeters).

The storm on Tuesday strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane with top wind speeds of 110 mph (177 kph) as it continues toward the Florida Panhandle for a Wednesday landfall.

 

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