A hurricane rapidly approaching Florida has strengthened to a devastating Category 4 storm, US experts have warned.
The US National Hurricane Centre said the eye of Hurricane Michael was about 180 miles south-south-west of Panama City, Florida, at 2am local time (7am BST).
The storm is expected to become one of the worst hurricanes in memory with a life-threatening storm surge of up to 13ft.
Some 375,000 people along the Gulf Coast were urged to evacuate as the fast-moving hurricane picked up speed in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday.
Florida governor Rick Scott warned residents on Tuesday: “Hurricane Michael will be here TONIGHT. This is your LAST CHANCE to get prepared for this monstrous and deadly storm.
“The state is not taking this storm lightly and neither should any family”.
On Tuesday, winds of 110mph were felt on the approach of the storm.
Michael could bring 1ft of rain to affected communities over the coming days and could trigger flash flooding to the region, much of which is still recovering from Hurricane Florence.
Ninety miles away in Cuba, authorities evacuated 400 people from low-lying areas and 13 deaths have been reported in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua as roofs collapsed.