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Michael Strengthens Into Major Hurricane, Landfall Wednesday

Michael is now a major hurricane and is expected to make landfall on Wednesday as a major hurricane.

As of 8:00 p.m. Tuesday Evening, Michael is a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 120 mph. Central pressure continues to decrease, which is now 953 mb. Michael is expected to maintain or gain strength into Wednesday morning over the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

3 Day Cone of Uncertainty – Hurricane Michael

Landfall is expected Wednesday afternoon along the Florida panhandle, and the Michael will quickly move inland bringing heavy winds and tropical storm force winds well beyond the Florida coastline. Tropical storm force winds are expected into South and North Carolina. A few hurricane force wind gusts are possible near the center of Michael.

Surface Map – Thursday

The heaviest rains and strongest winds for the Carolinas will be from Wednesday evening through Thursday evening. There will also be a severe weather threat, especially on the east side of the storm. Isolated tornadoes are possible across coastal locations of NC.

Flash flood watches have been issued for much of the Carolinas. The heaviest rains are expected across the piedmont of NC, with lower amounts the further west you move from the center of circulation. The image below is from the Weather Prediction Center over the next three days.

3 Day Total Precipitation

Power outages will be possible across eastern NC from the tropical storm force winds. The good news is Michael will be move northward quickly due to a cold front moving in from the west, so rain totals will be no where near as high as Florence. The bad news is still yet 4-8 inches of rain will be possible in central and eastern NC. On top of the rain, wind gusts of 60 mph are possible as the storm passes.

By Friday, Michael will be off the Carolina coast and quickly moving into the central Atlantic. Behind Michael and the cold front, seasonal temperatures are expected to move into the Carolinas.

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