Miami, Fla. (970 WFLA)- At 8:00 am the eye of Hurricane Michael was located near latitude 24.5 North, longitude 86.1 West. About 395 miles south of Panama City, Florida and about 365 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida
Michael is moving toward the north-northwest near 12 mph. A north- northwestward to northward motion is expected through tonight, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday.
On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico through tonight. The center of Michael is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday, and then move northeastward across the southeastern United States Wednesday night and Thursday.
Data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 100 mph with higher gusts.
Michael is now a category two hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Additional strengthening is expected, and Michael is forecast to be a major hurricane at landfall in Florida. Weakening is expected after landfall as Michael moves through the southeastern United States.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles.
NOAA buoy 42003 recently reported 1-minute mean winds of 47 mph (76 km/h) and a wind gust of 54 mph.
The latest minimum central pressure reported by the NOAA aircraft is 968 mb (28.58 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 * Alabama/Florida border to Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for... * Alabama/Florida border to Suwannee River Florida
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for... * Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for... * Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border * Suwanee River Florida to Chassahowitzka Florida
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 * Fernandina Beach Florida to South Santee River South Carolina
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...
Indian Pass FL to Cedar Key FL...8-12 ft
Cedar Key FL to Crystal River FL...6-8 ft
Okaloosa/Walton County Line FL to Indian Pass FL...6-9 ft
Crystal River FL to Anclote River FL...4-6 ft
Anclote River to Anna Maria Island FL including Tampa Bay...2-4 ft
Alabama/Florida border to Okaloosa/Walton County Line FL...2-4 ft
WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning area along the U.S. Gulf Coast by Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions expected by tonight or early Wednesday. Hurricane conditions will also spread well inland across portions of the Florida Panhandle, southeastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia.
RAINFALL: Michael is expected to produce the following rainfall amounts through Friday...
Western Cuba...4 to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches. This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
Florida Panhandle and Big Bend, southeast Alabama, and southern Georgia...4 to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches. This rainfall could lead to life threatening flash floods.
Eastern Georgia, the Carolinas, and southern Virginia...3 to 6 inches. This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods.
Florida Peninsula, eastern Mid Atlantic, southern New England coast...1-3 inches.
Graphic Credit: NHC Miami