Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center advises, "There is a real possibility that Michael will strengthen to a major hurricane before landfall".
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for.
"Radar data indicate that the eye of Michael is moving inland over portions of Bay and Calhoun counties in the Florida Panhandle". According to Accuweather, the heavy rain and gusty winds will continue for a few more hours. A quarter of a million homes and businesses already were without power, and the number was rising rapidly.
Michael was a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane intensity scale, just shy of a rare Category 5, when it came ashore. Gale to storm-force winds are predicted to hit parts of Virginia, North Carolina and the Delmarva Peninsula as Michael turns post-tropical. It was centered about 30 miles southwest of Macon, Georgia.
"There are so many downed power lines and trees that it's nearly impossible to get through the city", Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson said.
Authorities are anxious about a storm surge that could be as high as 12 feet. "A National Ocean Service water level station at Apalachicola recently reported over 7.7 feet of inundation above ground level", the Hurricane Center said.
With a low barometric pressure recorded at 919 millibars, the measure of a hurricane's force, Michael was the third strongest storm on record to hit the continental United States, behind only Hurricane Camille on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969 and the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 in the Florida Keys. "Do not try to leave until the storm has passed". Graham said storm surge will inundate the Aucilla River there to a point where it will "flow backward". "I don't think anyone would have experienced this in the Panhandle", meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said.
"Mexico Beach was wiped out", said Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. She remembers finding her bed frame in the sand, her neighbor's bathtub sitting inside it.
Colleen Swab, her mother and her young daughter took shelter in a closet in Panama City Beach, Florida.
"Today it is about life and safety, " Gillum said.
Perry and Mollie Williams were riding out the storm in their "fortress" home a block from the beach, their three cats and Rottweiler in tow. In light of the storm's forecasted track, I encourage Georgians in the affected counties to be prepared and remain vigilant. "But never on top of us".
In Wakulla County, the sheriff's office made a list of people who chose to ride out the storm and will check on them Thursday, sheriff's captain Chris Savary said. But by Wednesday morning, it was too late to evacuate.
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More than 30 buildings of the Vancouver campus may be affected. "So we are asking everybody to chip in", said Stout. The company will update its customers as soon as it is in a position to offer something new, said Stout.
Hurricane Michael rips through Florida's Panhandle
FEMA is already on Floridian ground providing assistance in the form of the EPA, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services. Many residents hunkered down in designated shelters like this one in Tallahassee, riding out the storm in a sturdier building.
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Also attending is former National Football League great Jim Brown, a civil rights leader who has met with Trump previously. Trump spoke about the meeting during a Wednesday interview with Shannon Bream on Fox News .
"First the cars started floating by, and all the debris was in the air", Mexico Beach resident Scott said. "Multiple state and federal resources are staged and ready to respond as soon as it is safe".
Forecasters say Michael was upgraded to a Category 2 storm Tuesday morning, and it could make landfall as a Category 3.
Tallahassee, a city of 200,000, sits 100 miles east of Panama City.
Waves crash on stilt houses along the shore due to Hurricane Michael at Alligator Point in Franklin County, Florida, U.S., October 10, 2018.
Gale and James Berry fled to a city shelter in Lincoln High School's cafeteria.
Patricia Mulligan said she survived Hurricane Andrew in 1992, only to encounter the wrath of another storm Wednesday.
Linda Burton returned to Parker, a town of about 4,300 northwest of Mexico Beach, from a storm haven in Alabama to find her motorhome had been destroyed by falling trees.
"You don't want to have to stay there", she said.
Michael was packing sustained winds of up to 85 miles per hour (140 kph) and gaining strength as it skirted past Cuba's western tip en route to a likely Wednesday landfall as the most powerful storm to strike the Florida Panhandle in at least a decade. As a result, the northeastern Gulf Coast is undergoing mandatory evacuations - that includes the Florida Panhandle (stretching into Big Bend) as well as parts of southeast Alabama and southern Georgia.
- Power outages: Roughly a million customers in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and SC without power.
Hurricane Michael is tracking closer to land, but when will it hit Florida?