Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall along the Florida Panhandle Gulf Coast on Wednesday.
According to the Weather Channel, Michael has strengthened to a Category 2 and is expected to strengthen further to a Category 3 before making landfall. The storm is expected to cause significant damage including felled trees, structural damage, power outages and flooding.
The Weather Channel reports that Michael will also likely bring heavy rain and strong winds to other parts of the southeastern United States after it moves inland.
Currently Michael is about 395 miles south of Panama City, Florida, and is moving north-northwest.
Hurricane warnings have been is issued for the Florida Gulf coast from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwanee River and to southwestern Georgia. Other areas such as Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia are preparing for tropical storm conditions.
Storm surge watches have also been issued for areas near the Anclote River in Florida, to Anna Maria Island, Florida. This includes Tampa Bay, and is from the Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County line in Florida.
The National Hurricane Center says water levels on the Florida Gulf coast could reach up to 12 feet in some areas if the surge arrives during high tide. Indian Pass to Cedar Key is predicted to have the greatest storm surge at eight to 12 feet. Cedar Key to Crystal River and Okaloosa/Walton County line to Indian Pass follow closely behind with storm surges of six to eight and six to nine feet. Other areas, including Crystal River to Anclote River, Anclote River to Anna Maria Island, including Tampa Bay and Navarre to Okaloosa/Walton County line have significantly smaller amounts of water predicted, ranging from two to six feet in some areas.
According to CNN, both the American and European models are in agreement on the storm’s trajectory, predicting that when the storm makes landfall it could have sustained winds over 120 mph.
At this time government officials have declared states of emergency in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
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