8 AM Wednesday: Hurricane Michael Winds Now 145 MPH

Miami, Fla. (970 WFLA)-At 700 AM EDT, the eye of Hurricane Michael was located near latitude 29.0 North, longitude 86.3 West. 

Michael is moving toward the north near 13 mph.   A turn toward the north- northeast is expected later this morning, with a turn toward the northeast expected this afternoon or tonight. A motion toward the northeast at a faster forward speed is forecast on Thursday and Friday. On the forecast track, the eye of Michael is expected to move ashore over the Florida Panhandle later today, move northeastward across the southeastern United States tonight and Thursday, and then move off the Mid-Atlantic coast away from the United States on Friday.

Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 145 mph  with higher gusts. Michael is an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some additional strengthening is possible before landfall. After landfall, Michael should weaken as it crosses the southeastern United States.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles (295 km). A wind gust to 56 mph (91 km/h) was recently reported at Apalachicola Regional Airport.

The estimated minimum central pressure based on NOAA and Air Force Reserve Hunter aircraft data is 933 mb (27.55 inches).

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for... * Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida to Anclote River Florida

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for... * Anclote River Florida to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for... * Alabama/Florida border to Suwannee River Florida

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for... * Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border * Suwanee River Florida to Chassahowitzka Florida * North of Fernandina Beach Florida to Surf City North Carolina

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for... * Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay * Mississippi/Alabama border to the Mouth of the Pearl River * Surf City North Carolina to Duck North Carolina * Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds

A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov.

STORM SURGE:  The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water has the potential to reach the following heights above ground if peak surge occurs at the time of high tide...

Tyndall Air Force Base FL to Aucilla River FL...9-14 ft 

Okaloosa/Walton County Line FL to Tyndall Air Force Base FL...6-9 ft 

Aucilla River FL to Cedar Key FL...6-9 ft 

Cedar Key FL to Chassahowitzka FL...4-6 ft 

Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island FL including Tampa Bay...2-4 ft

WIND:  Tropical storm conditions are spreading onshore along the U.S. Gulf Coast within the warning area, with hurricane conditions spreading onshore later this morning within the hurricane warning area.  Hurricane conditions will also spread well inland across portions of the Florida Panhandle, southeastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia later today and tonight.

Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread northward within the warning area along the southeast U.S. coast beginning tonight, and are possible in the watch area by late Thursday and Thursday night.

RAINFALL:  Michael is expected to produce the following rainfall amounts through Friday...

Florida Panhandle and Big Bend, southeast Alabama, and portions of southwest and central Georgia...4 to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches. This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods.

The remainder of Georgia, the Carolinas, and southern Virginia...3 to 6 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches. This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods.

Florida Peninsula, eastern Mid Atlantic, southern New England coast...1-3 inches.

SURF:  Swells generated by Michael will affect the coasts of the eastern, northern, and western Gulf of Mexico during the next day or so.  These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.  Please consult products from your local weather office.

TORNADOES:  A few tornadoes will be possible across parts of the Florida Panhandle and the northern Florida Peninsula through this afternoon.  This risk will spread into parts of central and southern Georgia and southern South Carolina this afternoon and tonight.

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