• Hurricane Michael continues to weaken over Georgia; fatality reported in Panhandle

    By: Irene Sans , Monique Valdes

    Updated:

    The landfall intensity was estimated at 155 mph, which makes Michael the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the continental U.S. since Andrew in 1992.

    9 p.m. UPDATE:

    Michael barrels down over Georgia, maximum sustained winds are at 90 mph, category 1, as it moves to the northeast at 17 mph. It will continue to gradually weaken as it enters the Carolinas overnight. 
    By Thursday morning, Michael will be over South Carolina as a tropical storm, producing heavy rainfall between 3 to 6 inches with 8 inches in some isolated spots. Tropical storm-force winds could knock down power in the Carolinas during the next 24 hours.

    Historic Hurricane Michael: How the storm stacks up to other U.S., Florida storms

    The system is expected to travel over North Carolina on Thursday afternoon and evening, still as a tropical storm crossing over extreme southeastern Virginia. Michael will be exiting into the Atlantic Ocean just after midnight on Friday, quickly picking up speed moving away from land. 

     

     

     

    7 p.m. UPDATE:

    Officials said one man was killed by a falling tree at his home in the Florida Panhandle during Hurricane Michael's passage.

     

    5 p.m. UPDATE: 

    Michael is still a Major Category 3 Hurricane as its center enters Georgia. Still catastrophic damage can be expected in the Florida Panhandle and southern Georgia. Forward speed is at 16 mph to the north-northeast. North Florida residents are still urged to stay in place as there are still destructive winds affecting the region. Heavy rain will also continue, driving through these conditions is deadly. 

    Across the current path of Michael, life-threatening winds and flooding will become more imminent over southern central Georgia. The Carolinas can expect life-threatening flooding with tropical storm-force winds. 

    Michael will continue to move mainly to the northeast and will emerge over water again, the Atlantic, early Friday, where it is expected to intensify as an extra tropical system and move away from land fast. 

    This is an historic storm. Hurricane Michael has the potential to bring the highest storm surge ever recorded in the Panhandle. It will be one of the strongest storms to hit the U.S. and the strongest to hit the Florida Panhandle. 
    

     

     

     

    3:45 p.m. UPDATE:
     

     

     

     

    2:40 p.m. UPDATE

    Michael continues move inland over the Florida Panhandle and it will be crossing over to the Alabama/Georgia border within the next hour or so. Still Florida Panhandle residents are not done with the hurricane's effects. Very strong, destructive winds, over 100 mph expected to arrive near Tallahassee soon, as well as very deep storms, all associated with the eye wall. 

    Residents along southern and central Georgia are advice to stay put in there secure location during the afternoon hours as the storm travels over the region, likely still as a hurricane. 

    Michael is expected to weaken to a tropical storm once its center (or what is left of it) approaches the Carolinas, moving out to the Atlantic Ocean by late Thursday evening. A large swath of heavy rainfall is expected bring flash flooding from the Florida Panhandle to the Carolinas and Virginia. 

     

     

     

     

     

    1:38 p.m. UPDATE

    Michael strengthens to 155 mph, makes landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida. 

     

     

     


    1:00 p.m. UPDATE


    Hurricane Michael's eye wall is coming ashore the Florida Panhandle with sustained wind speeds reaching 150 mph. The pressure has dropped to 919 mb. This pressure measurement is even lower that Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

    The weather has begun to turn very dangerous with the potential to be deadly in some areas. A weather station at the Gulf County Emergency Operations Center in Port St. Joe, to the southeast of Panama City, registered a wind gust of 106 mph. Apalachicola airport registered sustained winds at 63 mph. 

    6.5-foot storm surge has been reported in Apalachicola. 

    MICHAEL'S LATEST TRACK 

     

    >>Scroll down for Michael's impacts <<

     

     

     

    Watch for updates here when the National Hurricane Center releases its latest updates. We will also send alerts using the free WFTV News app.

    Don't have the WFTV News & Weather apps? Download them now for free.

     

    Storm surge will be the most catastrophic impact that the area will face. Over 12-foot storm surge is forecast to affect the Florida Big Bend. No one can survive a 12-foot storm surge, unless you are in the second or third floor of a very sturdy building. 

    Powerful, destructive wind will knock out power for weeks over a large stretch of Northern Florida, southern Georgia and southeastern Alabama. Widespread damage in roofs and trees will occur. 

    Substantial rainfall will also bring life-threatening flash floods in a large swath from northern Florida, southern Georgia and the Carolinas. Michael will not be a slow-moving storm, such as Harvey or Florence, but it is bringing deep tropical moisture. Some areas could receive up to 12 inches of rain. 

    Certified Meteorologist Rusty McCranie is in Cedar Key, Florida.

    11:00 a.m. UPDATE

    Extremely dangerous Hurricane Michael is closing in on the coast of the Florida Panhandle.

    The Category 4 storm is close to becoming a Category 5 hurricane, making it one of the most powerful hurricanes on record to hit the U.S. It will be the strongest to have hit the Panhandle. It's sustained winds have increased to nearly 150 mph. To become a Category 5 storm, wind speeds must exceed 156 mph.

    >>Scroll down for Michael's impacts <<

     

    The life-threatening storm surge from Hurricane Michael has already come ashore and is growing deeper. 

    According to a National Hurricane Center update, a National Ocean Service water level station at Apalachicola reported over 4 feet of inundation above ground level by mid-morning Wednesday. 

    14-foot storm surge is possible in Apalachicola, effects of the Michael plus the normal high tide. 

    Waves are already gnawing away at the base of sand dunes at Panama City Beach.

     

    See the latest: Watch & warnings

     

    8:25 a.m. UPDATE

    Hurricane Michael has become so powerful, that it is expected to remain a hurricane as it moves over central Georgia early Thursday. 

    The storm is strengthening as it races over the Gulf of Mexico approaching a landfall along Florida's Panhandle by Wednesday afternoon.

     

    >>Scroll down for Michael's impacts <<

    The Category 4 storm has maximum sustained winds of 145 mph and is moving at 13 mph, according to Channel 9 certified meteorologist Brian Shields. 

    Michael will be the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall on the Florida Panhandle and is poised to rank as one of the strongest to hit the U.S.

     

    7:45 a.m. UPDATE
     
    Florida Gov. Rick Scott is warning people in the path of massive Hurricane Michael that it's too late to evacuate.
     
    In a tweet on Wednesday morning, Scott said "If you chose to state in an evacuation zone, you must SEEK REFUGE IMMEDIATELY."

    Hurricane Michael grew into a Category 4 storm overnight, scientists say a storm this strong has never hit the Florida Panhandle.

    Winds intensified to 145 mph early Wednesday. 

    Hurricane Michael: Scenes from Florida as the storm approaches

    Meanwhile the Bay County Sheriff's Office warned residents that a "shelter-in-place" order has been issued, and urged everyone to stay off the roads. Sheriff's officials say deputies will continue to respond to calls for now, but that will change as the storm approaches the coastline.

     

     

    5 a.m. UPDATE

    The National Hurricane Center says Michael has become an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm. 

    Michael’s winds strengthened to 140 mph shortly before 5 a.m. Wednesday.

    At 2:00 a.m. Wednesday, the eye of Michael was about 180 miles south-southwest of Panama City, Florida. 

    It also was about 170 miles southwest of Apalachicola, Florida. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles. Michael was expected to become one of the Panhandle's worst hurricanes in memory.

     

    Video: Hurricane Michael approaches Florida Panhandle

    The Associated Press contributed to this report

    >>Scroll down for Michael's impacts <<

    The core of the storm is set to make landfall near Panama City, Florida, shortly after noon Wednesday. Northern Florida will start to get tropical storm-force winds very early Wednesday and conditions will quickly become more dangerous with winds increasing speed rapidly and more violently bringing in the storm surge to coastal areas. Any area, just east of landfall will likely be affected by devastating winds that can bring power outages for days, up to weeks.  

    Download: Free WFTV weather app for more information about the tropics

    Storm surge will be the most catastrophic impact that the area will face. Over 12-foot storm surge is forecast to affect the Florida Big Bend. No one can survive a 12-foot storm surge, unless you are in the second or third floor of a very sturdy building. 

    Powerful, destructive wind will knock out power for many days and in some cases for weeks over a large stretch of Northern Florida, southern Georgia and southeastern Alabama. Widespread damage in roofs and trees will occur. 

    Substantial rainfall will also bring life-threatening flash floods in a large swath from northern Florida, southern Georgia and the Carolinas. Michael will not be a slow-moving storm, such as Harvey or Florence, but it is bringing deep tropical moisture. Some areas could receive up to 12 inches of rain. 

    High surf will persist along the East Central Florida coast through Wednesday afternoon, and dangerous surf and large swells will increase from the Georgia coast northward through the Carolinas through Thursday. 

    Read: CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS

    Eye On The Tropics

    LOCAL FORECAST: 

    Michael will not bring a direct impact to Central Florida. Seas will remain rough through the afternoon hours, small craft should exercise caution. Also there is a high risk of rip currents.

    There will be intermittent rain with embedded storms passing across Central Florida, mainly from west to east. The highest risk for severe weather, including the possibility of tornadoes developing, will be mainly focused northwest of Orlando. Overall storms will be moving fast between 20-25 mph. 

     

     

     

    We will continue to monitor the tropics closely and bring you updates on Channel 9, WFTV.com and on our WFTV apps.

     

    Pronóstico en español por Irene Sans, meteoróloga certificada

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