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


Hurricane Michael, a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm, churned toward the Florida Panhandle Wednesday as the state and its neighbors to the north braced for the impact.

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott said it is the worst storm the Panhandle has seen in a century. No hurricane of Category 4 strength has ever hit that area before.

The last Category 4 hurricane to strike the U.S. mainland was Hurricane Irma in Sept. 2017.

ABC News
Hurricane Michael is inching closer to the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday morning with outer bands already on shore.

Here is what to expect and when

Wednesday:

— As of 11:30 a.m., Michael, with powerful winds of 150 mph, was 50 miles south to southwest of Panama City, moving north to northeast at 14 mph.

— Landfall is expected around 1 p.m. near Panama City or Mexico Beach.

PHOTO: Hurricane Michael is a fast-moving storm, but it will keep hurricane-force winds all the way into Georgia overnight into Thursday morning. ABC News
Hurricane Michael is a fast-moving storm, but it will keep hurricane-force winds all the way into Georgia overnight into Thursday morning.

Life-threatening storm surge of up to 14 feet high, hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall are all imminent.

— Water levels are already quickly rising and winds are increasing along the Florida Panhandle.

— Storm surge of 5 feet was already reported in Apalachicola, Florida, Wednesday.

Thursday and after:

— Scott has warned of major flooding. Rainfall may reach 12 inches in Florida.

— Michael is forecast to move quickly through Georgia and into the Carolinas on Thursday. The Carolinas could see around 6 inches of rain.



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