The NHC said that it could hit anywhere along the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area. Some additional strengthening is expected, and Michael is forecast to be a major hurricane at landfall in Florida. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov.
Hurricane Michael has grown into a Category 3 hurricane, with sustained winds reaching 120 miles per hour, as it barrels toward northwestern Florida, making it a much stronger storm than Hurricane Florence was when it made landfall as a Category 1 storm drenching the Carolinas last month, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm's center is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area before moving northeastward across the Southeastern U.S.
"Impacts from Hurricane Michael along the Florida Panhandle will include a unsafe storm surge, flooding rainfall and damaging winds". DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK -------- At 1000 PM CDT (0300 UTC), the center of Hurricane Michael was located near latitude 27.1 North, longitude 86.5 West. Michael is moving toward the north near 12 miles per hour (19 km/h).
NHC Director Ken Graham said Michael represented a "textbook case" of a hurricane system growing stronger as it drew near shore, in contrast to Hurricane Florence, which struck North Carolina last month after weakening in a slow, halting approach. Manatee County is now under storm surge and tropical storm watches.
North Carolina is expected to feel impacts from Michael late Wednesday or early Thursday.
A hurricane warning was in place from the Okaloosa/Walton county line to the Suwannee River and a tropical storm warning was in effect for north of Fernandina Beach, Fla., to Duck, N.C., and Pamlico and Albemarle sounds. Hurricane-force winds extended outward 45 miles (75 kilometers) from its center.
The unexpected brute that quickly sprang from a weekend tropical depression grew swiftly, rising in days to a catastrophic storm.
TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 08: Drivers line up for gasoline as Hurricane Michael bears down on the northern Gulf coast of Florida on October 8, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. This is a very risky storm and unprecedented in the area.
Coastal residents rushed to board up their homes and sandbag their properties against the fast-moving hurricane, which was expected to blow ashore around midday Wednesday along a relatively lightly populated stretch of shoreline known for its fishing villages and white-sand spring-break beaches. Forecasters warned of up to 30cm of rain in western Cuba, triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountain areas, and disaster agencies in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua reported 13 deaths as roofs collapsed and residents were carried away by swollen rivers. There is a small chance they could swipe the eastern edge of Southern New England on Friday morning. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Next complete advisory at 1000 PM CDT.