Hurricane Michael forecast: What to expect from the unprecedented Category 4 storm

Hurricane Michael forecast: What to expect from the unprecedented Category 4 storm

Breaking News

Hurricane Michael ripped through the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 storm Wednesday and is targeting Georgia and the Carolinas next.

Described by Florida Gov. Rick Scott as “monstrous,” the hurricane is the strongest to come ashore in the U.S. since Hurricane Camille in 1969 and the third most powerful ever on record.

Michael is the worst storm to hit the region since the mid-1800s.

PHOTO: Hotel employees look at a canopy that just collapsed, as Hurricane Michael passes through in Panama City Beach, Fla., Oct. 10, 2018.Gerald Herbert/AP
Hotel employees look at a canopy that just collapsed, as Hurricane Michael passes through in Panama City Beach, Fla., Oct. 10, 2018.

PHOTO: A woman checks on her vehicle as Hurricane Michael passes through in Panama City Beach, Fla., Oct. 10, 2018. Gerald Herbert/AP
A woman checks on her vehicle as Hurricane Michael passes through in Panama City Beach, Fla., Oct. 10, 2018.

(MORE: Hurricane Michael live coverage: Most powerful storm to hit US in 50 years tears through Florida toward Georgia)

Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina are all in the storm’s path.

Here is what to expect and when

Florida:

— Around 1:40 p.m., Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle near Mexico Beach and Panama City.

— As Michael approached the Florida coast, its pressure dropped to about 919 millibars (mb). The lower the pressure, the more intense the storm. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 made landfall with a pressure of 920 millibars.

PHOTO: Hurricane Michael is seen from the International Space Station, Oct. 10, 2018.NASA
Hurricane Michael is seen from the International Space Station, Oct. 10, 2018.

(MORE: Why we’re stuck with an inadequate hurricane rating system)

— Michael made landfall as a Category 4 with whopping 155 mph winds. A hurricane reaching 157 mph is in the highest category, a Category 5.

— Tyndall Air Force Base saw a wind gust of 119 mph.

(MORE: Images showing Michael’s destruction emerge: ‘All the houses are submerged’)

— Life-threatening storm surge may reach up to 14 feet high in Florida. Storm surge of 7.7 feet has already been reported in Apalachicola, Florida.

— Rainfall from the storm may reach 12 inches in Florida.

— As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Michael had weakened to a Category 3 with winds of 125 mph.

PHOTO: A car is seen in a parking lot while flooding begins as Hurricane Michael approaches, Oct. 10, 2018 in Panama City, Fla.Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
A car is seen in a parking lot while flooding begins as Hurricane Michael approaches, Oct. 10, 2018 in Panama City, Fla.

(MORE: How hurricanes form, explained by ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee)

Georgia:

— Michael is forecast to move quickly through Florida, and then into Georgia, which could be hit as a Category 2 hurricane, according to FEMA. “What you’re going to see is a storm moving very rapidly through Georgia, and it will maintain hurricane strength through southwest Georgia and central Georgia as it passes through later today and early tomorrow,” Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told “Good Morning America” on Wednesday.

— As of 6 p.m., the eye of the storm was moving through southwestern Georgia at 115 mph as a Category 3 storm.

— The storm had been downgraded to a Category 2 by 7 p.m., with wind speeds of up to 100 mph.

— Northern Florida and southern Georgia are under tornado watches and extreme wind warnings.

PHOTO: Hurricane Michael advisories, Oct. 10, 2018. ABC News
Hurricane Michael advisories, Oct. 10, 2018.

Carolinas & Alabama

— A state of emergency was declared Wednesday in North Carolina, said Gov. Roy Cooper, as he warned that winds will be strong enough to down trees.

— North Carolina and South Carolina will likely see heavy rainfall, which could cause flooding in areas already damaged and rain-soaked by last month’s Hurricane Florence. The hardest rain is expected there Thursday to Thursday night.

— In Alabama, where residents may see massive power outages, high winds and heavy rain, Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency statewide.

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