Michael has been strengthening and likely to be a strong Category 4 hurricane making landfall around the Florida Panhandle this afternoon. On the forecast track, it will make landfall between Panama City to Port St. Joe just before 2 pm. Already water levels are rising quickly and reports of 4 ft storm surge flooding came in from a tide station in Apalachicola. Wind gusts have been ranging between 50 – 65 mph. Once Michael interacts with land, steady weakening is expected. It could be a Category 2 hurricane moving through Georgia and down to tropical storm strength over the Mid-Atlantic states through early Friday. This is why tropical storm watches and warnings have been issued in advance.

There are three major worries with Michael.

  • Catastrophic wind damage possible wherever the center goes through.
  • Life-threatening storm surge is already occurring along a portion of the Florida Panhandle, Big Bend, and Nature Coast. The worst is expected later today and tonight between Tyndall Air Force Base and Keaton Beach, where 9-14 feet of inundation is possible.
  • Heavy rainfall from Michael could produce life-threatening flash flooding from the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region into portions of Georgia, the Carolinas, and Southeast Virginia. Accumulations could range between 4-8 inches with isolated amounts of 12 inches.

Please keep it tuned to your Storm Station for the latest!

Vivian Gonzalez

Meteorologist, AMS Certified

WSVN Channel 7

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