Michael strengthens to a Category 4 hurricane

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PHOTO VIA NOAA
  • Photo via NOAA
Michael was upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane Wednesday morning, as it continues on its path to Florida's Panhandle.

In an 8 a.m. report, the National Hurricane Center referred to the storm as "potentially catastrophic." Michael is currently moving northward at 13 mph roughly 80 miles southwest of Panama City with sustained winds of 145 mph.

Michael is expected to make landfall in the region this afternoon.



The 375,000 people who live along the coastal area have been ordered to evacuate. However, on Wednesday morning, Gov. Rick Scott urged anyone still in an evacuation zone to seek refuge, and that it was too late to evacuate.

"The time for evacuating along the coast has come and gone," said Scott in a tweet. "First responders will not be able to come out in the middle of the storm. If you chose to stay in an evacuation zone, you must SEEK REFUGE IMMEDIATELY."
PHOTO VIA NOAA
  • Photo via NOAA
Experts are expecting massive storm surge of over 14 feet in some areas, and residents along the coast can expect storm surge as far south as Tampa.

According to Weather.com, if Michael reaches land as a Category 4 storm, it would be the strongest storm to hit this area since 1851.