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Panama City and Florida Panhandle Brace for Michael

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Hurricane Michael, which strengthened over the last six hours into a Category Four storm, with sustained winds of 130mph to 156mph, is quickly bearing down on the Florida Panhandle with landfall expected by Wednesday morning.

With more than 300 miles of Gulf coastline under Hurricane warning, Michael is expected to hit anywhere along the Florida Panhandle the stretch of coastline between Tallahassee, Florida and Pensacola, Florida with Panama City expecting a direct hit.

Residents in the area are ordered to evacuate immediately. Hurricane Michael will produce life threatening storm surge in some areas 9" to 13" feet above normal.


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"The National Hurricane Center says water levels could reach the following heights if the peak storm surge arrives at high tide: Mexico Beach to Keaton Beach, Florida: 9 to 13 feet; Okaloosa/Walton County line to Mexico Beach, Florida: 6 to 9 feet; Keaton Beach to Cedar Key, Florida: 6 to 9 feet; Cedar Key to Chassahowitzka, Florida: 4 to 6 feet; Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island, Florida, including Tampa Bay: 2 to 4 feet; Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County line, Florida: 2 to 4 feet."

Hurricane Micahel is expected to make landfall and move in a Northeasterly cone cutting a swath across states that really don't need the additional rainfall. Intense rainfall from Tallahassee to Macon, Georgia, to Columbia, South Carolina and then into North Carolina with a wider cone with the Raleigh/Durham triangle receiving the most rainfall with possible totals up to 8inches.

Hard hit Wilmington will receive 2 to 3inces of rain with tropical storm winds of 60mph. As much as they don't need this secondary storm, the silver lining is that Hurricane Michael is moving south to north. The wind pattern should help reduce the toxic contamination that breeched the Cape Fear River and flowed into the Atlantic Ocean from Hurricane Florence by churning up the water breaking down the contamination and moving it further out to sea.

Northern Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and parts of North Carolina are expected to see some power outages. With Tropical Storm force winds reaching the South Carolina, North Carolina region by Thursday mid-morning and into the afternoon.


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Already moist grounds and weakened trees are especially dangerous and Wilmington residents could see an excess of down trees as they were weakened by Hurricane Florence.

Residents in the North Carolina region hit by Hurricane Florence should take precautions while riding out the tropical force winds accompany TS Michael.

This is a developing story.

Image courtesy of NOAA.

 

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