Hurricane Michael, a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm, churned toward the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday morning as the state and its neighbors to the north braced for the impact.
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott said it is the worst storm the Panhandle has seen in a century. No hurricane of Category 4 strength has ever hit that area before.
Here is what to expect and when
— As of 11 a.m., Michael was 60 miles south to southwest of Panama City, Florida.
— With powerful winds of 145 mph, the storm was moving north at 14 mph.
— Water levels are quickly rising and winds are increasing along the Florida Panhandle.
— Life-threatening storm surge of up to 14 feet high, hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall are all imminent.
— Storm surge of 4.5 feet was already reported in Apalachicola, Florida, Wednesday — the fourth highest stage on record there.
— Landfall is expected around 1 p.m. Wednesday near Panama City or Mexico Beach, with 145 mph winds. (A Category 5 hurricane is over 156 mph, which Michael is not likely to reach.)
Thursday and after:
— Scott has warned of major flooding. Rainfall may reach 12 inches in Florida.
— Michael is forecast to move quickly through Georgia and into the Carolinas on Thursday. The Carolinas could see around 6 inches of rain.