Just a few weeks after Hurricane Florence battered the Carolinas, the Gulf Coast is now the target of rapidly strengthening Hurricane Michael. As of Tuesday morning, Michael was located 365 south of Apalachicola, Florida and was a category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph. According to the National Hurricane Center, Michael is forecast to strengthen into a category 3 “major” hurricane before making landfall along the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday. As such, hurricane warnings have been issued for the entire coast of the Florida Panhandle, with hurricane watches issued as far west as the Alabama/Mississippi border and as far southeast as Chassahowitzka, Florida.
The Hurricane Center predicts storm surge of up to 12 feet above mean high tide levels just to the east of where Michael makes landfall. But the impacts will not be limited to coastal areas. Rainfall of up to 12 inches will be possible in parts of the southeastern United States, even well inland. Also, the threat of tornadoes will exist, particularly across northern Florida and southern Georgia when Michael passes through.