'Extremely dangerous' Hurricane Michael rumbles towards Florida coast

Closings due to Hurricane Michael

Cloud water releases a burst of heat, and hurricanes love heat.

A Category 4 hurricane has never made landfall in Florida's panhandle. And so far, Hurricane Michael's pressure ranks as the third-lowest for any hurricane to strike the US mainland, at 919 millibars.

There are several ways to measure a hurricane's strength. A National Ocean Service water level station at Apalachicola recently reported almost 5.5 feet of inundation above ground level.

"Radar data indicate that the eye of Michael is moving inland over portions of Bay and Calhoun counties in the Florida Panhandle".

Upon making landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, Michael was moving at 14 miles per hour ― more than double Florence's speed at landfall.

Authorities in Florida have begun to close roads due to high winds, including the bridge to St. George Island, which is now on its own until the storm passes.

Members of the Florida National Guard chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense (CBRN) Enhanced Response Force Package prepare to help citizens in affected areas prior to landfall of Hurricane Michael at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center near Starke, Fla., on October 9, 2018.

Meteorologists offered stark warnings ahead of Wednesday's landfall. A National Ocean Service water level station at Apalachicola recently reported over 5 feet of inundation above ground level.

Panama City Beach, the Florida Panhandle tourist community, announced mandatory evacuations for some areas along the coast Tuesday morning.

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"Guess what? That's today", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said. Much of this part of Florida is rural areas known for small tourist cities, beaches, wildlife reserves and Tallahassee, the state capital.

NWS offices in Jackson and New Orleans/Baton Rouge issued 11 tornado warnings for areas that would not experience an actual tornado but would experience extreme wind speeds commonly associated with tornadoes.

Between 4 inches (10 centimeters) and 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain are expected in southwest and central Georgia.

Tropical-storm-force winds, heavy rainfall, possible isolated tornadoes, coastal flooding, and risky surf conditions are possible in SC, according to the National Weather Service. A storm surge of almost 8 feet was reported at Apalachicola.

After landfall as a Category 4 storm, Michael will march northeast through the southeast USA and remain at least a Category 1 storm well into Georgia.

Rainfall could reach up to 30 centimetres and the storm surge could swell to four metres.

Hurricane Michael quickly intensified into a Category 2 over warm Gulf of Mexico waters Tuesday amid fears it would strike Florida on Wednesday as an even stronger hurricane. The hurricane was moving north at 12 miles per hour.

As the rain makes it way into the area, so will stronger, tropical storm force winds.

At 5 a.m., the major hurricane was holding maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour.

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