Tropical Storm Michael is accelerating through the Carolinas with a threat of high wind gusts and flooding rain from the southern Appalachians to parts of the East Coast into early Friday.
Michael made landfall as a catastrophic, unprecedented Florida Panhandle Category 4 hurricane early Wednesday afternoon. For a full summary on Michael's destructive storm surge flooding, winds and heavy rain, scroll down to our recap section below.
The home of the 325th Fighter Wing and some 600 military families appeared squarely targeted for the worst of the storm's fury, and leaders declared HURCON 1 status, ordering out all but essential personnel. The base's aircraft, which include F-22 Raptors, were flown hundreds of miles away as a precaution. Forecasters predicted 9 to 14 feet of water at Tyndall. The evacuation order was to continue "until further notice," the base said.
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The center of Michael is now pushing through South Carolina, with its broad area of rain from the Appalachians to Georgia.
Winds have gusted up to around 50 mph, at times, in Augusta, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. There have been a number of reports of trees downed in eastern Georgia and South Carolina, including in the Columbia metro area.
Some flooding was also reported on Interstate 26 and the Interstate 126 interchange on the northwest side of Columbia early Thursday morning. A swift water rescue was needed due to flooding near Old Fort, North Carolina, and significant street flooding was reported in Hendersonville and Boone, North Carolina.
Winds have long-since diminished in the hardest-hit parts of the Florida Panhandle, southwest Georgia and southeast Alabama.
MIAMI — Floridas Panhandle is littered with evidence that Hurricane Michael is one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the mainland United States. Roofs and awnings are peeled from buildings, pieces of homes are scattered amid snapped trees and downed power lines, chunks of beaches are washed away. Michael thrashed Georgia as a hurricane and eventually weakened to a tropical storm early Thursday as it moved toward the Carolinas, soaking areas that got swamped last month by Hurricane Florence.
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Tropical storm warnings remain in effect from Altamaha Sound, Georgia to Duck, North Carolina, in the northern Outer Banks, including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds. These warnings also extend inland over much of the Carolinas and eastern Georgia.
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The center of Michael will continue to accelerate to the east-northeast through Thursday night across the Carolinas into southeast Virginia, then move off the East Coast out to sea by Friday as a post-tropical low.
– Tropical-storm-force (39-plus mph) winds are possible from eastern Georgia through much of the Carolinas through Thursday night or Friday.- These winds are capable of downing trees and triggering additional power outages in these areas. This is a particular concern in areas where soil is still saturated from Florence's torrential rain in northeastern South Carolina and North Carolina.- Metro areas that may experience additional power outages through Thursday night include: Columbia, Charleston, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham.- Strong winds are also forecast over portions southeastern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula as Michael becomes post-tropical off the mid-Atlantic coast late Thursday night into Friday.
Michael isnt alone. The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Leslie and Tropical Storm Nadine are no threat to land over the open Atlantic Ocean, but Tropical Storm Sergio in the Pacific is blowing toward the Baja California Peninsula on a path across Mexico to the southern U.S. Plains and the Ozarks by the weekend.
– Total rainfall of 4 to 7 inches is expected from eastern Georgia into the southern mid-Atlantic, with isolated totals up to 9 inches in North Carolina and Virginia. This will include some areas devastated by flooding from Hurricane Florence. That said, this system will move quickly rather than stall like Florence did and will, therefore, not bring extreme rainfall amounts. – The rest of the Northeast coast into southeast New England may see 1 to 3 inches of rain.
– As is typical with tropical cyclones, isolated tornadoes will be a threat.- Thursday and Thursday night, that tornado threat will exist from the eastern Carolinas into southeast Virginia.
– Inundation of 2 to 4 feet above ground level is possible on the sound side of North Carolina's Outer Banks as winds from Michael pile water along those coastal areas.- Water levels are dropping along the Florida Panhandle Gulf Coast.
Hurricane Michael intensified right up to its landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, around 12:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday as a high-end Category 4 with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph and a minimum central pressure of 919 millibars.
Michael was the third most intense continental U.S. landfall by pressure and fourth strongest by maximum sustained winds on record. Michael was also the most intense Florida Panhandle landfall on record, the first Category 4 hurricane to do so in records dating to the mid-19th century.
Michael's storm surge produced a peak inundation of 7.72 feet above ground level at Apalachicola, Florida, Wednesday afternoon, smashing the previous record of 6.43 feet above ground set during Hurricane Dennis in July 2005.
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Peak inundation of 5.31 feet above ground at Panama City, Florida, was second only to Hurricane Opal in 1995. Cedar Key, Florida, saw peak inundation of just over 4 feet Wednesday afternoon.
An observing site near Tyndall Air Force Base, east of Panama City, measured a wind gust to 129 mph early Wednesday afternoon, and a gust to 107 mph was reported 1 mile south of Panama City.
A car is seen in a parking lot while flooding begins as Hurricane Michael approaches on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. – Hurricane Michael closed in on Floridas Gulf Coast on Wednesday as an “extremely dangerous” category four storm packing powerful winds and a huge sea surge, US forecasters said. The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said the storm, which local forecasters are calling an “unprecedented” weather event for the area, is expected to slam ashore later in the day with “life-threatening” storm surges.
At one time, it was estimated over 200 roads in the city of Tallahassee were blocked by fallen trees.
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A weather reporting station deployed by Weatherflow and the University of Florida measured a surface pressure from 920-929 millibars, an extraordinarily low pressure to measure on U.S. soil, before it was toppled, according to Shea Gibson, WeatherFlow, Inc. meteorologist.
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Michael also shattered Panama City's all-time low pressure record, which had stood from Hurricane Kate in 1985.
– Florida: 129 mph at Tyndall AFB; 89 mph in Apalachicola; 71 mph in Tallahassee- Alabama: 68 mph in Dothan- Georgia: 70 mph near Albany; 51 mph near Savannah- South Carolina: 52 mph near Charleston
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Rainfall from Michael has, so far, been largely less than 6 inches, primarily due to Michael's more rapid forward movement. Here are some notable rainfall totals by state:
– Florida: 5.26 inches at Sumatra; 3.17 inches in Tallahassee; 2.61 inches in Panama City- Alabama: 4.92 inches in Dothan; 3.96 inches in Auburn; 1.60 inches in Montgomery- Georgia: 5.95 inches near Dickey; 3.61 inches in Atlanta; 3.37 inches in Macon- South Carolina: 5.27 inches near Jefferson; 2.18 inches in Columbia- North Carolina: 3.78 inches near Boone- Virginia: 2.64 inches in Hillsville; 1.40 inches in Blacksburg
From Disturbance to Historic Monster in Just Four Days
Michael first developed as Tropical Depression Fourteen on Oct. 7 east of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
Michael rapidly intensified from a tropical depression to Category 1 hurricane in just 24 hours ending 11 a.m. EDT October 8.
Video: ISS passes over Michael as it nears landfall
Michael continued to intensify right up to landfall, exhibiting eyewall lightning as it pushed to high-end Category 4 status slamming ashore in the Florida Panhandle.
Video: ISS passes over Michael as it nears landfall
Michael arrived in southwestern Georgia early Wednesday evening as a Category 3 major hurricane, the first hurricane of that strength to track into Georgia since the Georgia Hurricane of 1898, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach, tropical scientist at Colorado State University.
Hurricane Michael slammed into Floridas Panhandle on Wednesday, October 10, as a dangerous Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph.
Michael was the strongest storm to make landfall in the continental US since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.