Hurricane Michael strengthened to a Category 3 storm on Tuesday as it headed toward Florida’s northeast Gulf Coast. By the time the storm makes landfall, it could be near Category 4 strength, forecasters said, bringing with it catastrophic storm surge, torrential rain and heavy winds. “Hurricane Michael is forecast to be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades,” Gov. Rick Scott warned on Tuesday. The storm is expected to move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico through Tuesday and make landfall in the Panhandle on Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. By Tuesday afternoon, Michael’s top sustained winds had risen to 120 mph, and the National Hurricane Center said some additional strengthening is expected before Michael hits Florida. Governor Scott on Tuesday morning urged residents in the path of the storm to evacuate, saying the effects of the storm would start well before landfall.