Major Hurricane Michael, an unprecedented storm, is bearing down on the Florida Panhandle as an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane. Michael is expected to make landfall near Panama City, Florida, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. CDT Wednesday.
Should Michael's eye cross the coast as a Category 4 hurricane, it would be the first time on record for such an occurrence over the Big Bend area of Florida's coast, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
"Michael is a historic storm. A Cateogry 4 hurricane has never struck that part of Florida. The coastline will be changed for decades," AccuWeather Vice President of Forecasting and Graphics Operations Marshall Moss said.
The storm will bring sustained winds of 80-100 mph with gusts of 120-160 mph to parts of the Florida Panhandle, mostly within 40 miles of where Michael makes landfall. The strongest gusts are likely just to the east of the center. This will lead to widespread tree and structural damage.
Michael Winds Hit 150 MPH, Nearly Cat 5
The latest GOES16 satellite closeup of the eye of Hurricane Michael suggests it has further intensified and now stands on the threshold of a CAT5 storm. It would become Cat5 at 156mph sustained winds.
NASA: Max sustained winds in high-end Cat 4 have unfortunately continued to intensify, now at 150 MPH! Pressure down to 27.26″.
Best wishes to Florida and anyone in the path.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock