Category 4 Hurricane Michael closes in on Florida Panhandle

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — Hurricane Michael intensified again as a Category 4 hurricane. It's now packing maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, according to an update to the 11 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

The extremely dangerous major hurricane is expected to slam the Gulf Coast around 2 p.m. eastern time.

"Hurricane Michael is the worst storm the Florida Panhandle has seen in 100 years," Gov. Scott said at a news conference Wednesday morning.

Forecasters believe Michael will intensify before its eye moves across the Florida Panhandle Wednesday afternoon.

 

The National Hurricane Center says the storm is 60 miles southwest of Panama City, and moving north at 13 mph. Forecasters believe Michael will turn northeast later today or tonight and speed up on Thursday and Friday.

Life-threatening storm surge, hurricane force winds, and heavy rainfall are imminent, the NHC said.

There are hurricane force winds about 45 miles out from the center of the storm, tropical storm force winds can be felt up to 185 miles out.

The Florida Panhandle and Big Bend area, along with southwest and central Georgia could see between 4 to 8 inches of rain, with some isolated areas seeing up to a foot of rain.

Tornadoes are also possible in parts of the Florida Panhandle through the afternoon.

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee issued an extreme wind warning as gusts in excess of 130 mph are expected with Hurricane Michael's landfall in the next few hours.

 

Swells from Hurricane Michael will also cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions along the eastern, northern, and western Gulf of Mexico.

FEMA is also alerting residents in Georgia to prepare as the storm could knock out power there for weeks.

 

Also in the tropics, Leslie is now a hurricane with 75 mph winds. Nadine remains a tropical storm with 65 mph winds.

Click Here for the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center.


Photo: CBS 12

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