Here’s What You Need to Know About the Storm

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Following the powerful Hurricane Florence, another dangerous storm is approaching the Florida Panhandle: Hurricane Michael started off as a tropical storm, and on Wednesday was upgraded to a Category 4 storm. The outer bands of the storm have now reached Florida’s coast.

As of Tuesday night, there were over 3.5 million people under a hurricane warning stretching from the Florida/Alabama state line to the Suwannee River in Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center. It’s possible the hurricane warnings could spread as the storm becomes more powerful; it’s already expected to be the strongest recorded storm to hit the Panhandle, according to The New York Times.

Here’s what you need to know.

You can track the storm and get more updates from the National Hurricane Center.

Powerful Winds

As of Wednesday morning, Michael was about 60 miles from Florida, but hurricane-force winds already were extending close to land. The storm currently has sustained winds of up to 145 miles per hour and is expected to make landfall later this afternoon. The governors of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia have declared states of emergency, and mandatory evacuation orders are in effect across the Florida Panhandle.

A worker boards up a gas station ahead of Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach, Florida, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. Michael, a Category 2 hurricane, is racing toward the Florida panhandle and is forecast to become the second storm to make U.S. landfall in a month. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Heavy Rain

The National Hurricane Center forecasts 4-8 inches of rain throughout the Florida Panhandle and portions of Alabama and Georgia, with up to a foot of rainfall possible locally. Tornadoes could occur in the Panhandle as well.

The Storm Surge

The NHC described Hurricane Michael as a “dangerous” storm and stated that the storm surge is “life-threatening” to people in its path. The surge could be as high as 13 feet in certain areas, including “between the border of Okaloosa and Walton Counties to the Anclote River,” according to The New York Times.

Flood Warnings

There is a high risk of flash flooding on the Florida Panhandle and in areas in both Alabama and Georgia, according to the NHC. As the storm moves to the northeast after making landfall, flash flooding is also possible throughout Georgia, the Carolinas, and southern Virginia.


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