UPDATE (5:30 a.m. 10/11/2018) -- TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS for all local counties have been discontinued as Michael rapidly pushes away from the region. Marine zones are still under TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS until further notice.
The now Tropical Storm Michael will continue to weaken and rapidly eject into the Atlantic Ocean. Weather conditions will continue to improve throughout Thursday.
The latest advisory on Michael can be found here: nhc.noaa.gov.
UPDATE (4:00 p.m.) -- A FLASH FLOOD WARNING has been issued for Bay, Franklin, Calhoun, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington counties in Florida, as well as Decatur and Seminole counties in Georgia. In some places, 4" to 7" have already fallen, with several more expected.
The center of the storm is about to cross the I-10 corridor in Jackson county, Florida.
UPDATE (2:55 p.m.) -- The tornado watch has been extended to 2:00 AM EDT for all counties in the WTXL viewing area. A National Ocean Service water level station at Apalachicola reported over 7.7 feet of inundation above ground level at 2:00 PM EDT.
UPDATE (1:38 p.m.) -- Hurricane Michael makes landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida with sustained winds of 155 mph. Life-threatening storm surges are still expected with heavy flood-causing rain and very dangerous winds.
The EXTREME WIND WARNING has also been continued for several of our counties.
UPDATE (1:00 p.m.) -- Hurricane Michael prepares for landfall between St. Vincent Island and Panama City, FL. Michael has also strengthened with minimum pressure of 919 mb, making it deeper than Hurricane Andrew.
The National Weather Service is reporting several Apalachee Bay tide stations with water rising over 1' per hour.
In addition, the Gulf County Emergency Operations Center in Port St. Joe reported wind gust of 106 mph.
UPDATE (11:30 a.m.) -- Hurricane Michael continues to strengthen. The storm has sustained winds of 150 mph. That makes this storm a VERY strong category 4. There is a chance that Michael could continue to strengthen, though, the time is running out for that.
Water levels are also continuing to rise, with some places along Apalachicola reporting over 5' of inundation above ground level.
There is also an EXTREME WIND WARNING for Bay, Gulf, Franklin counties until 2:15pm ET, but it could be extended further into the afternoon. This is because of the approaching eyewall. This type of warning means that powerful winds in excess of 130 mph to move onshore. Tornado-like damage can occur in the warning area.
A FLASH FLOOD WATCH has also been issued for many of our counties through Thursday morning. The heavy rain will continue through the afternoon hours, overnight, and possibly through tomorrow morning.
UPDATE (8:00 a.m.) -- Hurricane Michael is still a category 4 storm, and has shown signs of strengthening. Winds are now sustained at 145 mph with even stronger gusts. The center of the storm is less than 100 miles from the Apalachicola, though many in our area are already feeling the effects of this storm. A HURRICANE WARNING is in effect for most of our region, with a TROPICAL STORM WARNING in effect for our eastern counties near I-75.
Strong and damaging winds are expected now until the storm passes our region. Some places may experience sustained winds over 50 mph for several hours. In addition, heavy rain will continue, with the threat of flooding for some.
A life threatening storm surge is also a possibility for our coastal communities, with a 2' to 12' increase in water levels. Because of this, a STORM SURGE WARNING is in place for all of Franklin and Wakulla counties, as well as the the entire coastal area of the Big Bend.
A TORNADO WATCH is also in effect for the entire region. Although it is currently set to expire at 5:00 pm EDT, it may get extended through the evening and overnight hours.
UPDATE (2:00 a.m) -- Hurricane Michael has strengthened into a category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 130 mph. The storm is still moving northward at 12 mph, with landfall expected later Wednesday afternoon.
Tropical Storm force winds extend about 175 miles from the center of the storm, which means that residents in the Big Bend and south Georgia will begin feeling the effects from the storm long before it makes landfall.
Expect strong winds, heavy and heavy rain as the storm nears and passes over the region.
UPDATE (11:00 p.m.) -- More strengthening took place over the warm eastern Gulf of Mexico waters, and late Tuesday night, Michael's highest winds near its center are estimated at 125 mph, with higher gusts. It was still moving north at 12 mph. A landfall in the eastern Panhandle is likely Wednesday afternoon, possibly as a category 4 hurricane with catastrophic results for the area near landfall.
Tropical storm winds extend 175 miles out from the center of the storm, and hurricane-force winds reach outward about 45 miles from the center.
Local advisories and expectations are essentially the same as before, with tropical-storm-force winds to be experienced across the region, and higher chances for more intense sustained winds and gusts in the Apalachicola River region, the tri-state junction, and the Flint River valley of southwest Georgia. Most, if not all, local winds will remain below peak wind force.
UPDATE (8:00 p.m.) -- Hurricane Michael is 235 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola. Peak wind speeds have held steady at 120 mph, keeping it at Category 3 strength level. Air pressure in the hurricane has decreased slightly as the hurricane maintains impressive form and structure, which can lead to further intensification late tonight.
UPDATE (5:30 p.m.) -- Hurricane Michael is about 295 miles south of Panama City and has reached major hurricane strength with highest sustained winds of 120 mph. It maintains a north movement of 12 mph. There have been no fundamental changes in the forecast track and timing of likely landfall near the eastern Panhandle or Forgotten Coast counties.
Tropical Storm Warnings have been extended eastward to include Suwannee, Hamilton, Clinch, and Echols counties locally. Hurricane Warnings have been unchanged for southwestern Georgia and western Big Bend counties.
UPDATE (2:45 p.m.) -- Hurricane Michael's form is still healthy, as deep moisture is wrapping around its center and an "eye" is starting to appear on satellite imagery. Further intensification is expected this evening. Hurricane reconnaissance aircraft continue to observe and investigate the hurricane, and their information will be used in future forecast modeling and in the 5 p.m. National Hurricane Center forecast revision.
UPDATE (11:00 A.M.) -- Hurricane Michael is still a Category 2 storm, though now maximum sustained winds are measured at 110 mph. The storm is nearly a Category 3 and that level of intensity is expected to be achieved later today. Movement is now due north at 12 mph. Tomorrow, a NE turn is still expected. The next advisory is at 2:00 p.m. ET.
UPDATE (8:00 A.M.) -- Hurricane Michael is now a Category 2 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph. Further intensification is still expected and the storm is likely going to become a Category 3 hurricane by later today or tonight. Present movement is still to the NNW at 12 mph. Tomorrow, a NNE to NE turn is expected before landfall. The next advisory is at 11:00 a.m. ET.
UPDATE (8:00 P.M.) -- Hurricane Michael has strengthened over the Yucatan Channel, with peak winds of 85 mph as it's set to emerge into the southernmost Gulf of Mexico. It is also moving slightly faster, to the north now at 12 mph. The forecast track will be revised at 11 p.m.
UPDATE (5:00 P.M.) -- Hurricane Michael has peak wind speed of 80 mph, about 520 miles south of Apalachicola, moving north at a slightly faster 9 mph. Hurricane Warnings are now in effect along the entire Big Bend coast, with inland advisory adjustments likely this evening. A Storm Surge Warning is now up for the entire Big Bend coast as well.
UPDATE (4:00 P.M.) -- First Alert Weather continues to analyze the newest weather forecast data, which is still suggesting a landfall in the Panhandle region Wednesday in the P.M. hours. A precise point is challenging to make, but this does not minimize the ongoing threat in our local region regarding heavy rain, gusty winds exceeding tropical storm force, significant coastal storm surge throughout the Big Bend shores, and possible brief but quick-moving and quick-forming tornadoes.
A new advisory and forecast track will be released around 5:00 p.m. from the National Hurricane Center.
MIDWAY, Fl. (WTXL) - As of the 11:00am advisory, the storm has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, making it a Category 1 hurricane.
The storm is expected to make landfall as a Category 3 hurricane along the Panhandle of Florida or the Big Bend of Florida.
No major changes to advisories have been updated, with the exception of several local counties now under a HURRICANE WATCH or TROPICAL STORM WATCH.
⚠️11AM UPDATE KEY MESSAGES1. #Michael now forecast to be a MAJOR hurricane at landfall. 2. Life-threatening storm surge along the FL Panhandle and Big Bend.3. Tropical Storm Force winds arrive as early as Tues Eve. 4. Widespread Heavy Rain.#FLwx #GAwx #ALwx #HurricaneMichael pic.twitter.com/RGwMYX9ySA
— NWS Tallahassee (@NWSTallahassee) October 8, 2018
As of the 5:00am advisory, the storm has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. The storm continues to gain organization and Michael will likely become a hurricane later today.
The storm is expected to make landfall somewhere along the Florida Panhandle or the Big Bend region Wednesday afternoon or evening. Stormy and windy weather will no doubt occur before landfall, with the timing of impacts potentially starting as early as sunrise on Wednesday.
Tropical Storm force winds are very possible along a large portion of the viewing area, with hurricane force winds also possible. Heavy rains and storm surge will also be a concern. Specifics will be ironed out as the storm gets closer. Preparation for a potential hurricane landfall needs to be complete by Tuesday.
From the National Hurricane Center:
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT: A Hurricane Warning is in effect for... * The Cuban province of Pinar del Rio A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for... * The Cuban province of the Isle of Youth * The coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, including Cozumel A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for... * Navarre Florida to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay A Hurricane Watch is in effect for... * Alabama-Florida border to Suwanee River Florida A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for... * Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay * Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within the next 12 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion. A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life- threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours. Interests elsewhere across the southeastern United States should monitor the progress of Michael.
You can catch the forecast on ABC 27 News starting at 5:00 each weekday morning, as well as ABC 27 News at Noon. First Alert Chief Meteorologist Casanova Nurse has your forecast at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, and 11:00 this evening.
Remember to follow WTXL First Alert on Social Media.